“Today we stand in the midst of debris and brokenness,” reads the statement. “Over 70 lives have been senselessly lost to this mayhem.”
On 15 July, church leaders joined the Soweto Ministers Fraternal to pray at the looted Ndofaya Meadowlands Mall where 10 people perished in a looting stampede. “We extend condolences to the families of all those who have died and pray for a speedy recovery to the injured,” reads the message. “As we have said before, we shudder to think of the toll of death that might result from the currently unprotected hordes of people, where the wrath of COVID-19 can kill both the economy and large numbers of people, leaving untold misery in many families.”
Many communities in the affected areas may be without access to basic supplies for the days and weeks ahead.
“Thousands of jobs may never be recovered and dependent livelihoods lost,” reads the statement.
The statement calls for a stop to destruction by faceless people for an unknown agenda. “We are a constitutional democracy with structured ways to address any concerns that anyone may have in society,” reads the text. “Much of the infrastructure will be restored in time.”
The bulk of the country has in fact, not been gripped by this unseemly frenzy. “But the impact of what has happened on the psyche and the moral fibre of our society is incalculable,” reads the message. “This will require a restoration drive that our communities will now need to embark upon.”
The church is an agent for reconciliation and the restoration and recovery of the positive human spirit, the message notes. “When one has participated in wrongdoing, one is to be encouraged to make amends and take on a new path; and that is a part of the person’s healing,” reads the text. “Churches wish to encourage people who have looted, to attempt to return things they stole, by delivering them to the nearest police stations.”