Church leaders ‘will work with Presidency to rebuild confidence’ in executive

December 15, 2015, 7:36pm

By Karl Gernetzky, Business Day Live. Photo: Reuters

THE South African Council of Churches (SACC) says church leaders will now work with the Presidency on rebuilding confidence in the executive after receiving clarity from President Jacob Zuma on the recent abrupt cabinet reshuffles and their effect on the country.

The leadership of the SACC met Mr Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday, a day after they penned an open letter to Mr Zuma describing the recent removal of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene as "bordering on the financially irresponsible".

During brief remarks to the media on Tuesday, SACC president Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa said confidence in the office of the Presidency was in the best interest of the country.

The government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) are grappling with the recent fallout of cabinet reshuffles that have seen SA receive two new finance ministers in less than a week. A number of protests are planned for Wednesday, and social media campaigns have been launched.

Mr Zuma said on Tuesday "we have clarified the issues that we needed to clarify," while the government shared its views on other socioeconomic matters raised by the council.

Mr Zuma, who was joined by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Minister in the Presidency for Women Susan Shabangu, said another meeting would be convened next year to discuss the other concerns raised by the council.

Neither Mr Zuma nor Bishop Siwa elaborated on the other issues raised during the meeting, although Bishop Siwa noted that the SACC had also welcomed Mr Zuma’s intervention during the recent fees must fall protest.

Mr Zuma ultimately announced a 0% tuition increase for 2016, along with the establishment of a presidential task team to look at additional funding mechanisms for tertiary education.

"We hope that soon the president will be able to answer the nation as to how far he has done the homework as far as that matter goes," said Bishop Siwa.