The Eloff Commission, set up by the South African government to enquire into the activities of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), handed down its findings on February 15.
NOVEMBER 1983 (BBC)
GV Eloff Commission.
SCU Judge Eloff.
SCU Bishop Desmond Tutu and other officials at the Commission.
FEBRUARY 15, 1984 (CHILTON)
SCU Bishop Tutu speaking. (SOT)
TRANSCRIPT: TUTU: (SEQ 4) "We are not surprised at what they have said, and we are going to continue to do the work that God has given us to do. The Commission and the government have no mandate whatsoever to tell us how to carry out the work that God has given us."
REPORTER: "How is it going to affect your plans?"
TUTU: "It's not going to affect our plans in any way whatsoever. We are going to continue to determine our plans according to the guidelines which our member churches who control us determine, and we will be around seeking to be what God wants us to be, instruments of justice and peace in South Africa, speaking up for those people who are voiceless, those people who are exploited, the poor and the powerless."
REPORTER: "The Commission accuses you of seeking a revolutionary path in the liberation movement. How do you respond to that?"
TUTU: "Oh... we certainly support the liberation movement in all of South Africa. Nobody in South Africa at the present time is free, and we believe that will happen only when all of us are free, when this country is truly democratic and non-racial. We keep telling them that it is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that is truly revolutionary. It is subversive of all injustice and oppression."
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Background: The Eloff Commission, set up by the South African government to enquire into the activities of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), handed down its findings on February 15. The Commission, led by Justice C.A. Eloff, accused the SACC of promoting revolution within South Africa and having a history of financial mismanagement. It said the organisation had developed from one which spread the gospel to one which increasingly identified itself with the "liberation struggle" in South Africa. SACC's General Secretary, Bishop Desmond Tutu, was accused of helping to disseminate "liberation struggle" propaganda through speeches at home and abroad, and his addressed to blacks were described as "inflammatory". Bishop Tutu said last year that the government had decided to render SACC ineffective as an unrelenting critic of the government's policy of apartheid, and at a press conference, following the release of the report on February 15, he reaffirmed the organisation's determination to continue as an instrument of justice, "speaking out for those people who are voiceless, those people who are exploited, the poor and the powerless". He said "no-body in South Africa at the present time is free" and that would only happen when the country became "truly democratic and non-racial".