Anglican Church of Southern Africa seeks to “act more effectively” to abuse allegations

Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

March 22, 2018

The Primate of Southern Africa, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has written to the bishops of the province asking them to establish diocesan advisory teams to handle allegations of abuse. He is also “urgently consulting more widely on how the Church can not only act more effectively, but be seen to act effectively in cases of sexual abuse,” he said in a statement released today. “Key to my efforts is to achieve holistic and sustainable healing.” In his statement, Archbishop Thabo said that in recent weeks “four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately to report experiences of sexual abuse in two dioceses” dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those cases involved the South African writer Ishtiyaq Shukri. In an open letter at the end of last month, he said that he had been “repeatedly and routinely” sexually abused by Anglican priests at St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley from the age of 10 in 1978. “The abuse was alienating and confusing,” he wrote. “I did not know what to do‚ so I kept quiet‚ knowing that I was not alone‚ and that there were others‚ too. That knowledge provided a distorted sense of comfort‚ normalising the abnormal‚ which‚ after all‚ is what life in apartheid South Africa trained us all to do.”

He published his open letter in response to comments by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on the Oxfam abuse scandal. Archbishop Tutu had said that he was “deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity.” His spokesman said that Tutu was “saddened by the impact of the allegations on the many thousands of good people who have supported Oxfam’s righteous work.”

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