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Could Zuma's call for Jesus' return be a cry for ANC's moral revival?

By Smangaliso Mkhatshwa | 2015-06-27 05:08:05.0

In the early years of his presidency, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma confidently declared that the ANC would rule until Jesus came back.

The statement was received with mixed feelings.

To many Christians, the statement bordered on blasphemy at worst, or profound disrespect at best. Implicit in the declaration was that Jesus would descend from heaven to give his final approval to the ANC stewardship.

Some Christians, although uncomfortable with the statement, did not think the president's utterances were meant literally.

It was more of hyperbolic political boasting that as a liberation movement of our people, its freedom credentials would sustain its leadership for many years to come. It was an expression of bravado and hope rather than a policy statement.

Just as people were beginning to forget what he had said, then, like a thunderbolt, Msholozi called on Jesus to "fast-track" his second coming.

The difference this time around was his plea to Jesus to come back now.

Why now?

Because there are just too many sins!

In political parlance too much sinfulness would refer to crass materialism, rampant corruption, gender violence - especially against girls and women - murder, theft, dishonesty, antisocial drunkenness, substance abuse, racism, tribalism, arrogance, maladministration, infanticide, hatred, xenophobia, blatant bribery, paedophilia ... and so on.

The majority of South Africans would agree with the president's observation that South Africa can no longer condone this kind of behaviour without risking serious damage to the future of our republic.

The idea of the second coming of Jesus is steeped in Christian literature, especially the Gospel of St Matthew, Chapter 25.

It is associated with the belief that at the end of theworld, Jesus would return as a judge to reward those who had led virtuous lives and condemn to eternal damnation the evil-doers.

Interestingly, those who are elevated to heavenly glory are the people who were committed to the common good of all. Those condemned to eternal punishment would include those who elevated rampant materialism to a little god on a pedestal.

What Msholozi perhaps intuitively warned us about was that Jesus's second coming would also demand accountability for our actions, good or bad. Accountability, not only to Him as the Supreme Judge, but to our neighbours, co-workers, political comrades, husbands and wives.

Genuine socialists would be comforted by Jesus's reward for those who provided a better life for all, especially the poor.

The second coming does not mean a romantic waltzing into heavenly glory by all and sundry. It means a sifting of the good from the evil - the sheep from the goats.

Could the call for the speedy return also refer to the ANC's Imvuselelo Project?

At several of its policy conferences the ANC has re-emphasised the need forrenewal - for a return to basics, reinventing the ANC by reviving its founding values.

The recent return of the remains of JB Marks and Moses Kotane should serve as a huge inspiration to all who are committed to social transformation as well as the "RDP of the Soul".

The challenge is no longer about what the president said in the excitement of the election campaign.

The critical question is when Jesus comes will he find us wallowing in the pigsty of anti-revolutionary mess or will he find us flying the glorious flag of democracy, peace and freedom?

lMkhatshwa is chairman of the Moral Regeneration Movement

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