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Makgoba's challenge to Witsies, SA

- Kemantha Govender

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, says South Africa has a new struggle that he wants people to join.

Makgoba, has called for Wits graduands and all South Africans to join the country’s latest struggle – the struggle to establish a new and more equal society.

Speaking after receiving an honorary doctorate from Wits University, Makgoba said we all should strive for a society of equal opportunity in which the wealth that comes from new economic growth is shared equitably among all.

Tell the truth

“The new struggle repudiates the values which underpinned colonialism and apartheid: narrow self-interest, callous selfishness and the pursuit of personal gain, of power, status, and material wealth, regardless of the consequences for other people or our planet,” said Makgoba.

The Archbishop called for a “tsunami of truth-telling” about corrupt influence-peddling on government by business interests. He was responding to the Constitutional Court judgement on Nkandla. 

“We live in a society based on fear. Our members of are too scared to hold the executive properly to account. Those in the executive or in public service who is alleged to have been approached by a well-known family – and who have allegedly been offered blandishments in return for business favours – have been too afraid to speak out about it.

"Thankfully, the courage of a few is breaking down the fear, hopefully unleashing a wave of truth-telling about corrupt influence-peddling, not only by one family but by other business interests too," he said. 

Makgoba said he hopes that Thursday’s Constitutional Court judgement finding that both President Jacob Zuma – in challenging the Public Protector's findings on Nkandla – and Parliament – in seeking to protect the president – acted unlawfully, will give public servants and others new courage to speak out – and generate not just a wave but a tsunami of truth-telling.  

Continue your education

Makgoba also reminded students that they must never think that their education has come to an end, and they should never think that education simply means the acquisition of knowledge.

“Education is far more than the accumulation and communication of information, of facts and figures, practices and procedures. For me, the definition of true education which resonates best is that it is about the development of wisdom.

“Exercising wisdom calls us to a practical understanding of the world and people about us, and to a shrewd discernment of situations and how to handle them. Wisdom enables us to play a constructive role in society; to respond to the challenges of our times so that we are not part of the problem, but rather part of the solution,” he said.

Makgoba said it is important for the graduands to understand the power and importance of trust.

“If you are true to yourself, and to others, you will be a person who is trusted by others. As they say, remember that there is a high cost to low trust and a high value to high trust. So never do anything that will cause someone to lose their trust in you.”