Before South Africa held national elections in April, Tutu said he could not pretend to look forward to Zuma’s presidency due to allegations of corruption that had been leveled at the then president-in-waiting and also a questioning about Zuma’s attitude to the dignity of women.
Some of Zuma’s former critics have subsequently said he has shown leadership in reaching out to former foes in South Africa where racial and class politics often simmer.
“The archbishop is like a father to me. In my culture, the father has the right to say anything he wants to. He has the right to chase me away from his house. I have no right to comment, that’s why I never comment on the archbishop’s statements,” explained Zuma, who has said he believes strongly in tribal traditions.
Zuma drew laughter at the October 17 meeting held at Bishopscourt, the home of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, when he said it was not in the character of Tutu to remain silent if he thought something was wrong. Tutu is a former Cape Town archbishop. Bishopscourt is the place that has been the residence of Cape Town Anglican archbishops for more than 150 years.
The cleric who is now the archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, spoke of the need for the delivery of basic services promised to the people of South Africa in the post-apartheid era, something that critics have faulted the government for.
“To live abundantly is to find our basic needs met, so we may flourish across the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical capabilities of which we are possessed as both individuals and members of communities,” said Archbishop Makgoba.
The archbishop was speaking at a meeting of church leaders from the Western Cape province, where the African National Congress, which rules all of South Africa’s other eight provinces, lost control of government in the April elections. Makgoba said South Africa’s constitution enshrines human dignity and well being of every citizen as such providing a fruitful context for shaping relations with the public sector.
“It is the high principles of the constitution to which we must hold one another accountable and encourage one another to defend and advance,” said the Cape Town archbishop. Makgoba told President Zuma that all faith communities were keen to speak out critically with honesty and independence when needed, but constructively to develop the country.
Zuma said, “Things have gone wrong in the country over a long period of time, even with our experience we have not managed to make things better, yet we have possibilities in our hands.”