Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Religious leaders who are members and affiliates of the KwaZulu-Natal Commission on Religious Affairs yesterday lashed out at Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for making "hatred" remarks against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

About 50 clergymen held a meeting in Durban yesterday to discuss, among other things, how they could best disseminate a strong message to the world that Tutu's opinions did not represent those of South Africa's clergy.

Tutu has been recently criticised for making comments described by some churchmen as showing a deep-rooted dislike for Zuma.

Pastor Vusi Dube of the eThekwini Community Church said the clergy had taken a resolution that Tutu's remarks were "unholy".

"As religious leaders we feel that the noble thing Tutu can do is to write a letter and apologise to Zuma. Tutu should also make 'a public apology' to Zuma.

"We will write Tutu a letter and express our disgust at the way he has behaved concerning Zuma," Dube said.

"We hope he will accept that he was out of tune and apologise, failing which it will clearly demonstrate that he has a certain vendetta against Zuma."

Dube said the clergy were also disturbed by the "apparent involvement" of the Diakonia Council of Churches.

"We take serious umbrage to their silence, which projects a perceived subtle collusion between Tutu's statements and the Diakonia management.

"The least they could have done was to call him to order or issue a statement distancing themselves from such comments."

The commission also said it was concerned about Diakonia's Good Friday service to be held in Durban, themed "Crucifixion by Corruption", which will be addressed by the president of the South African Council of Churches, Tinyiko Maluleke.

Dube said their concern stemmed from the understanding that Maluleke was linked to Cope.