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Programme Director and Gauteng Premier, Mr Mbhazima Shilowa
Your Grace, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane, Head of the Zion Christian Church
Reverend Gentlemen, Members of the Bishop’s Council and Elders of the Zion
Christian Church
Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Phumzile
Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Ms Susan Shabangu
Deputy Minister of Public Works, Mr Ntopile Kganyago
The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa
MECs, Mayors, Councillors and Representatives of the Gauteng and North
West Provincial Governments
Leaders of Other Religious Formations
Fellow Worshipers
Brothers and Sisters

Khotsong Masione! Peace Unto You! Uxolo Mazayoni!

I am truly honoured to stand in front of you during this Mass Prayer Service
for missing Constable Francis Rasuge, one of your own and one of our own.

We are overwhelmed by the presence of Your Grace, Bishop Barnabas
Lekganyane and the thousands of ZCC worshipers at this stadium as well as
the more than a million others across Southern Africa whose prayers I am
certain are with us as humble ourselves before the Almighty.

Khotsong Masione!
We are gathered to unite in prayer for the family of Ms Francis Rasuge in
their prolonged moment of uncertainty about the whereabouts of their
beloved daughter.

We are also here to demonstrate openly our solidarity with them in this hour
of need. We have no doubt about the power of prayer alone, but our hopes
are raised to higher planes by the reality of a prayer in unison of so many
Zion Christian Church members.
This is neither the first nor the last time that we, as politicians and
government leaders have turned to ZCC for the kind of prayers we sorely
need today.

Before our country attained democracy and at a time when South Africa’s
peaceful negotiated settlement seemed like it was going to be compromised
by then ongoing political violence in April 1992, it was to the ZCC that former
presidents FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela and IFP leader Chief Mangosuthu
Buthelezi turned for prayers.

Again when we celebrated ten years of this democracy and freedom in
Mafikeng in the North West Province in March last year, it was the ZCC that
turned Mafikeng into the biggest Thanksgiving Prayer Service that our
province has ever known.

Apart from commanding the biggest church following across the Southern
African region, standing at more than 2 million worshipers, the Zion Christian
Church understands intimately the travails, trials, tribulations and challenges
of the majority of South Africans.

It was no less than Reverend Emmanuel Motolla, a member of the ZCC’s
Bishop’s Council, who, on behalf of His Grace Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane,
on 19 November 1999 told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that:

“Crime is yet another problem which requires our attention. So serious is this
that we feel that the police, the army, and the community at large must join
forces to reclaim our freedom from criminals. Unless the three aforesaid
forces join hands in fighting crime, Mr Chairperson, I am afraid our future is
bleak. We also call upon the justice and correctional service departments to
play their role in the war against crime. There is no point in arresting
criminals only to let them loose due to lack of proper attention paid to cases
by the Justice Department.”

We have heeded Reverend Motolla’s call and government has pulled all stops.
We are happy to report that crime levels have since gone down considerably
since then. Our Police and the courts are working at a pace never seen before
because of the commitment to rid society of the evils of crime.

Tomorrow as you know, our only last physical link with missing Constable
Rasuge, the accused in this mystery appears in court to answer questions the
State wants to put to him.

But while the police and the courts are doing their best to solve the mystery,
we here will pray for a speedy conclusion to this harrowing saga. As each day
goes by without a solution to this matter, the government and the community
continue to pray for strength for the family and friends to cope with the
trauma. But most importantly, we pray for God’s miraculous solution to the

Your Grace, Bishop Lekganyane

Tomorrow also marks the beginning of the Women’s Month, August, where
the Government and the entire nation go on a fully charged campaign of
awareness and action for the betterment of life for the Women of South

Particularly in August, Your Grace, we acknowledge, recognise as well as
show gratitude for the many sacrifices women make for the greater good of
society. We are therefore humbled that the Zion Christian Church has joined
this campaign in this fashion and in their mighty numbers.
You, Mazayoni, have reaffirmed our belief that as long as we still breathe, we
must never lose hope. You have assured us that the plight of women across
the country and in the world, is also your plight. We are most grateful for this
gesture. We are certain that throughout the month of August, the many
worshipers of ZCC will join nation-wide campaigns to salute all the women of
our country and pray for those in the hour of need, darkness, sickness and

While it is true that moments of darkness and despair always draw us closer
to the Lord, it is important to remember that God loves us all always, in
darkness and in glory, in sickness and in health, in mourning as well as in

Whatever we do, however trivial we might think it is, God acknowledges and
recognises it, for He is a loving God. As Mother Teresa once said, we
sometimes feel that what we do is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean
itself would be less because of that missing drop.

As visiting African-American scholar and lay preacher, Professor Cornell West
reminded us recently during his talk in honour of Madiba, “At the centre of
what it means to be Christian, (indeed to be religious) is to be human, to
express compassion and solidarity with suffering and to respond to the cries
of those afflicted…”

We believe that by gathering en masse today, we have been strengthened in
our quest to resolve this mystery and in our general commitment to the

creation of a society that promotes Women’s Rights and protects its entire

In conclusion, we would like to single out His Grace Bishop Lekganyane for
his support in building a humane society that values the life of every one of

Your Grace, your mighty Zion Christian Church continues to be a beacon of
hope for all of us in South Africa. In following the example of the Messiah
Himself, you and your church have shown us a way to a better life. We will
continue to emulate and strive for a peaceful and Godly life as exemplified by
the Zion Christian Church.

We thank you today for lighting that flame of hope. The millions of South
Africans I am sure will follow this light.

We are most grateful and overwhelmed.

Khotsong Masione! Peace unto you! Uxolo Mazayoni!

I thank you.


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