FUTURE FIRST LADY CALLS FOR PEACE and UNITY
Nompumelelo MaNtuli Zuma appealed for political tolerance in KwaZulu-Natal before, during and after the elections.
MaNtuli, who is tipped to be the future first lady, is the fourth wife of ANC president Jacob Zuma.
She addressed a packed Qokololo stadium in Pietermaritzburg yesterday where a Masibambisane Prayer Day was held.
The prayer day is her brainchild, which she conceived when she established her foundation last year.
The foundation, which will be officially launched later this year, focuses on community development projects.
"Tolerance is very important, even if you don't see eye-to-eye politically.
"I urge politicians to take one another as brothers and sisters.
"My wish is for peace and stability in this province, not only as we approach elections, but even after elections.
"God does not like people who fight like cats and dogs," she said.
The prayer day was aimed at seeking divine intervention against the recent natural disasters in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country.
The prayer was also for the scourge of HIV-Aids, crime and road accidents.
Religious leaders from various denominations took part in praying for peace and unity.
MEC for Social Development Meshack Hadebe painted a frightening picture on the extent of poverty in the province.
He singled out two regions, the eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg, which had been visited by social workers.
He said they have more orphaned children than any other province.
"In Pietermaritzburg region, we have 1117 children that are orphans, more than 4369 households are poor, and you ask yourself how many people are in each of those households that need assistance if you look at the households.
"Families that go to bed having not eaten are 3865," he said.
Hadebe said in the eThekwini region, 3277 children go to school without food.
Families that go to bed without food are 3048.
"As government, we have something that we have done, but we are the first to admit and acknowledge that this is not enough when we still have people who go to bed on empty stomachs, when we still have people who don't have a roof over their heads," said Hadebe.
Pastor Vusi Dube of eThekwini Community Church said it was important for people to seek God's grace in times of need.