South African cardinal "shocked" by Zimbabwe rubble

CLICK HEREArchbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, who is visiting Autralia, told a Caritas media conference on Friday that he was shocked by the sight of rubble when he recently visited Zimbabwe.

"To see such deliberate destruction, which left 700,000 Zimbabweans without homes was very disturbing indeed," he said.

He said the site was so full of rubble that it looked 'like it had been bombed'.

Cardinal Napier made the two day visit to Zimbabwe in mid July and his outrage at what he saw has now been widely reported.

The Cardinal's position as Archbishop of Durban, relying on information from Catholic networks from within Zimbabwe, has given him access to information and a corresponding sense of obligation to speak out about injustice in his neighbouring country, he said.

The Zimbabwe Government has claimed that 'Operation Clean Up' was designed as a crackdown against illegal housing in Zimbabwe shanty towns and suburbs.

"I take a much more cynical view," Cardinal Napier said.

He has reiterated his condemnation of the Zimbabwe government's motives, expressed to South African media earlier this month: "Mugabe wants to destroy all semblance of opposition and aims to achieve this by bringing people to their knees with him as the only person who can help them."

Cardinal Napier also expressed his concern about the issues facing other African nations. However, he is encouraged by Africa's own initiatives to stamp out corruption and introduce good governance.

"NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development), an initiative started by the leaders of South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal has now been adopted by the African Union. This is designed to uproot weaknesses in governance and develop national resources in a way that assists and uplifts the people. It is Africa's own program and evidence of its commitment to improve the capacity of its people.

"I support initiatives currently being taken throughout the world to 'Make Poverty History'," Cardinal Napier said.

"It is argued that increasing aid, reducing debt and opening up access to markets is pointless while corrupt regimes such as President Mugabe's exist. But I say the more opportunity that African nations have to participate in the broader market economy, the more opportunity they have to expose corruption and flush it out. Nevertheless, every effort must be made to broaden access to the markets.

"Some countries in particular have repressive and corrupt leaders. These countries need incentives to give up the old ways and adopt strategies that will support all their people. If this change in thinking can be achieved by 'Make Poverty History', then it is very worthwhile indeed, he said.

Cardinal Napier's Sydney engagements include a conversation and breakfast hosted by the Diocese of Broken Bay, between 7:30 and 9:30 am tomorrow morning. The location is Unit 11/1 Central Ave, Thornleigh. The number for enquiries is (02) 9473 4565. There is no cost.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier stands up for human rights (Caritas Australia 2/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
Cardinal Wilfred Napier (totalcatholic.com)

South African cardinal calls for sanctions against Zimbabwe (CathNews 15/7/04)

SA cardinal says Mbeki must act (The Zimbabwean 29/7/05)
Cardinal Napier - Press Conference (Caritas Australia 31/8/05)
Caritas to Chair Conference of 3,000 NGOs at United Nations (Caritas Internationalis 2/9/05)
Caritas Internationalis Talks Commitment at U.N. (Zenit 2/9/05)

5 Sep 2005