No Justice, No Peace: Know Justice, Know Peace

“We envision and embrace a country and peoples unified by interreligious and spiritual understanding and respect.”

The 7th of our 8 objectives calls upon us to generate good coexistence values.

CTII stands in solidarity with an urgent call by the Rabbinic leadership of the South African Union for Progressive Judaism and others, to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure justice for the 11 citizens killed during lockdown and for all those who have suffered indignity and violence at the hands of South African police officers. The tragic deaths of Collins Khosa, Petrus Miggels, Sibusiso Amos, Adane Emmanuel and others are unacceptable breaches of a security force entrusted with the care and safety of the people.

To call these 11 deaths an act of over-enthusiasm is to belittle, dismiss and subtly condone a deeply disturbing trend of brutality of government’s law enforcement agencies against the very people our armed forces and our leadership are sworn to protect.

South African courts have demanded an end to the violence, and yet it has continued and even appeared to escalate.  People have continued to lose their lives, livelihoods and freedom due to “over-enthusiastic” action by security agents. We ask our President where this blatant disregard for law comes from, and why it is being allowed to continue so rampantly, with apparent impunity.

At this time of heightened trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in an already traumatised society beset by inherent injustices, we ask the President to mindfully consider the Government’s duty to maintain safety, calm and security. Brutality and violence can never be regarded as a path to safety, calm and security. Neither can hunger, and we note that the inability of many people to access basic food requirements has been a contributing factor in the developing conflict between the state and the population.  The lack of food security must be seen as another form of violence perpetuated on a disempowered nation. We refer to our Constitution which promises an environment free from danger and violence, and enshrines the right to adequate food and water. We encourage the South African Government to take seriously the mandate of the Constitution.

South Africa is a deeply religious country with a vibrant diversity of faiths. All our religions without exception speak the language of peace, compassion and respect. We invoke the Golden Rule that lies at the heart of all our beliefs: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Mr President, there can be no peace where there is no justice. And we will know peace when we know justice. May peace prevail on Earth, and may it begin with us.