We have come to a moment of destiny for South Africa.
We stand at a crossroads with one path leading to dictatorship and national destruction, and the other to the realisation of the dream of a democratic, non-racial, and prosperous country. We have, and we continue to intercede fervently for God to intervene…
…and I believe that He has, and He is, and He will!
I wrote this article in November 2016, after the courts had ordered that the Public Protector’s State Capture report be released. As I wrote it I was conscious of the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, but when I had completed the task I had a strong check in my spirit that I should not publish it just then. I had a sense that the timing was not right and that it lacked an essential element of redemption and hope. But, now I feel the time is right.
To combat darkness, we must all shine whatever light we have. This starts by speaking out into our circles of influence. This comment is my little light beam.
This article is addressed to South African Christians but applies in part to many nations at this time.
The ‘worm’, in Shakespeare’s quaint saying ‘the worm has turned’, refers to the ancient, fire-spewing dragon of myth and fairy lore. In our nation, South Africa, the dragon has not turned of his own choice, but because of the efforts of hundreds of brave saint Georges. The bravest of all dragon slayers is our erstwhile Public Protector but in her wake has risen a legion of true freedom fighters. And as the swords of truth and integrity rise high to strike, we look and observe with surprise that the dragon is actually just a worm after all.
I am convinced that we will look back on the 2nd November 2016 as the day the worm was turned. On that day the judges of the Supreme Court issued an order that the Public Protector’s ‘state capture’ report be immediately made public, and between every page crawled the maggots of corruption! Crooked business men, corrupt politicians, leaders of state-owned entities, and assorted other wigglers. The report does not so much reveal the danger of state capture but rather documents the critical evidence that the state has already been captured. Men and woman of ill will, greedy disposition, and misdirected loyalty sit snugly under every key rock in the formal garden of our state.
But light is now shining brightly on the areas of corruption. Paul wrote ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible’ (Ephesians 5:11-14). The rocks are being turned over one by one and the light is shining brightly on the worms beneath. And what do worms do when exposed to light? They wiggle – and what a wiggling we are now witnessing! Barefaced lying, inane excuses, arrogant and angry claims that the Public Protector’s report is incorrect, biased and riddled with ‘gossip’… wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
We delude ourselves if we think that the number one worm will line up all his invertebrates behind him and slither off into the sunset. On the contrary, he will wiggle all the more, rage against white economic colonialism, disparage those wise and seasoned men and woman within his own party, and dig in as deeply as he can into the mud of control, manipulation, lies, and arrogant recalcitrance.
And all the while our economy is strangling and is gasping for breath, the horde of angry and disillusioned unemployed men and woman is growing to record highs, while the rating agencies are poised to downgrade our nation to junk status. But our leaders simply blame the rating agencies of being unfair and biased against emerging economies and bluster about creating their own rating agency, despite the lunacy of the notion. The next generation of thought leaders are either throwing stones at university security officers in their violent demands for free education or struggling to be able to write their examinations and qualify. All the while, provincial governments and state-owned entities are exposed as chalking up tens of billions of unauthorised expenditures, to the extent that the entire higher education bill could have been paid from the corruption and wastage alone. The power utility CEO brags about how clever he has been in keeping the nation supplied with electricity when everyone knows that the failing economy has reduced the demand for power considerably. Then the Public Protector reveals that this CEO is under scrutiny for mismanagement at best and blatant corruption at worst. His response is to cry crocodile tears, literally, and then resign – problem solved… not! The head of the National Prosecuting Authority tries to have the Minister of Finance arrested on trumped-up charges and at the same time, he does nothing about obeying a court order to reinstate the over 700 charges against the State President. And so it goes, a painful and pathetic litany of moral and ethical failure, greed, and arrogance, followed by exposure, denial, and a total lack of accountability.
What is to be done? Can we afford, and I mean that literally, to wait until the process of successive elections slowly changes the balance of power in our nation? Will we have a nation worthy of the name left by then? Or can we justify and risk civil unrest, revolt, and a coup? I shudder at both of these alternatives!
As passionate believers in the ability of Almighty God to change reality, we can ask Him to intervene. We can acknowledge that we have probably been given the government we deserve but we can say, with painful sincerity, that we have learned our lessons, and that we commit ourselves to a just, lawful, moral, ethical, and godly system of government and society. We can plead with God to send revival to His church, to remove the evil from our structures of power, and to give us another chance. Then we need to submit ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to what actions we should undertake to follow our words of protest.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you”.
In the early hours of Friday the 31st March 2017, the president of South Africa made his big move to grab power over the country from the hands of the ruling party. Without consulting his leaders, he announced a massive cabinet reshuffle designed to achieve three tactical objectives; to place his sycophants in the remaining cabinet posts not yet personally loyal to him, to secure a greater number of parliamentary seats that he could count on, and to capture the national treasury. In a flagrant display of arrogance and contempt for his party and the people of the land, he fired the most efficient minister in his cabinet on the grounds that he was improving efficiency and effectiveness. His flimsy and unpublicised excuse for axing the minister of finance was a ridiculously inept and incomprehensible ‘Intelligence report’ claiming that the minister was engaged in treasonous activity. Yesterday one of the three major rating agencies degraded South Africa to junk status and a second will follow suite by the end of the week. As I write this, our markets have not yet opened but I am expecting a disastrous fall in the value of the Rand. However, despite the deepening darkness let me switch on the light of hope.
On Monday 27th March the Revival Prayer Meeting of our local church met as usual. Unsurprisingly, the major focus of our prayers was intercession for our nation. We prayed that God would step in and dramatically intervene and we acknowledged our dependence on Him. One prayer went as follows;
‘Please Lord, just as you sent an angel to confront Balaam will you not stand before our president with your hand up and say, ‘Enough! Stop! Be silent”’.Before the meeting ended we had a deep sense that there were thousands of groups of Christians all across our land interceding just as we were.
The next day a grand old stalwart of the liberation movement died and the day after that was laid to rest. At his funeral, former president Kgalema Motlanthe read out Ahmed Kathrada’s message from the grave, that Jacob Zuma should step down for the sake of the nation. This funeral service signalled a great intervention by Almighty God because it initiated waves of response and resolve that are now washing over the nation like ever-expanding ripples in a pond.
I believe that over the next few weeks we are going to witness, and even participate in, the decisive ‘turning of the worm’ and the start of a new era for our nation. There is more drama to come and I anticipate brazen and desperate attempts by the Zuma faction to stay in power. But, I do believe that God is acting on behalf of righteousness and that soon, very soon, we will be praising His name for another great miracle in our land.
The Lord Jesus had remarkably little to say to the political rulers of His time, but what he said to Herod is so appropriate. Luke 13:31-32 ‘At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’…” Perhaps we could paraphrase this and apply it to our times and situation with these words; “Go tell that worm, ‘I will drive out the demons and heal this land and her people, and surely I will accomplish my goal’”.