/ 22 October 2015

Church leaders throw their support behind #FeesMustFall

Protesters at Wits.
Protesters at Wits.

National church leaders gathering in Johannesburg from October 21-22 2015 in OR Tambo, for the annual National Church Leaders’ Consultation (NCLC), issued the following special statement on the student fee crisis.

We the Church leaders of South Africa lament the student fee crisis engulfing the country. We declare this a national crisis. 

We lament that we have not discerned the signs of the times. We have failed our students and not heard their voices.

We lament and strongly condemn the unnecessary use of violence and police brutality against our students and children. We call for the immediate release of all detained under these circumstances.  

We further lament the exclusion of the poor from our spaces of higher education because of unaffordability. We recognise that the majority of these students are black and this entrenches inequality in our nation and denies educational opportunity. Our sacred texts call us to identify with the poor and marginalised. The church and faith leaders therefore have an obligation to stand in solidarity with the students on campuses around the nation. 

Consequently church and faith leaders have resolved today to visit the WITS campus to symbolically express our solidarity. We are committing ourselves to creating courageous spaces where South Africans are able to listen to one another and to the voice of God. 

We call on university authorities and government to join us in listening to students and avoiding violent behaviour that shuts down dialogue. Only through deep dialogue, listening and courageous action will we be able to find lasting long-term solutions. 

We especially call on the government to provide adequate resources to redress the evils of the past and to allow the poor to access tertiary education. We further call on the minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande, and the President of the Republic of South Africa to undertake immediate and appropriate measures to address the situation more than they have currently displayed.

As Church and faith leaders we commit to engage and journey with all concerned with these issues and we will call on other church and faith leaders to do the same at campuses across the country.

We also assure university executives of our prayers at this time of crisis. 


1. Archbishop Dr. Thabo Makgoba – Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Chairperson of the NCLC

2. Archbishop Dr. Zandisile Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa

3. Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo – Roman Catholic Church

4. Rev. Mukondeleli Ramulondi – Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa

5. The Most Revd Bishop Lunga ka Siboto – Ethiopian Episcopal Church

6. Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa – Methodist Church of Southern Africa / SACC

7. Bishop Nkosekhaya Dikana – Word of Life

8. Bishop Sonwabo Dlula – Reformed Apostolic Mission of South Africa 

9. Prof. Jerry Pillay – World Communion of Reformed Churches

10. Bishop Melumzi Norhushu – Ebenezer Christian Church

11. Dr. Emmanuel Tshilenga – International Church of Pretoria

12. Prof Mary-Anne Plaatjies Van Huffel – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa 

13. Dr. David Phaladi Tswaedi – Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa

14. Dr. Abraham Hanekom – Commission For Witness

15. Dr. Kobus Gerber – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa

16. Rev. Lulama Sibeko – Reformed Apostolic Mission of South Africa 

17. Rev. Garrett Möller – Volkskerk van Afrika

18. Dr. Frank Chikane – AFM International / SACC

19. Dr. Renier Koegelenberg – NRASD

20. Dr. Welile Mazamisa – NRASD

21. Rev. Lungile Mpetsheni – Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa

22. Rev. Bonisile Moses Ngcayisa – Presbyterian Church of Africa

23. Dr. Gustav Claassen – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa

24. Dr. William Van Der Merwe – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa 

25. Rev. Charmaine Morgan – Methodist Church of Southern Africa

26. Rev. Moss Ntlha – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa 

27. Rev. Canon Desmond Lambrechts – Anglican Church of Southern Africa

28. Pastor. Hermy Damons – International Federation of Christian Churches 

29. Rev. Senamo Molisiwa – Council of African Instituted Churches

30. Bishop. Horst Muller – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (N-T)

31. Bishop. Isaiah Canny Mpofu – Council of African Instituted Churches

32. Pastor Xola Skosana – Way of Life

33. Mr. Marcus Van Wyk – SACLI

34. Mr. Miles Giljam – SACLI

35. Mr. Henry Jeffreys – Journalist and analyst 

36. Rev. Loyiso Jonga – Baptist Church

37. Rev. Edwin Arrison – Kairos Southern Africa

38. Rev. Miranda Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa

39. Rev. Cornelis Janse van Rensburg – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa

40. Rev. Cornelis Du Toit – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa

41. Dr. Sipho Mahokoto – NRASD

42. Dr. Garth Japhet – Heartlines

43. Sheikh Achmat Sedick – Muslim Judicial Council 

Contact Sipho Mahakoti – 083 745 3405