Stay out of politics – pray for us instead‚ Zuma tells church leaders

Women and religion, catholic sister praying in church, holding c - Stock image
Women and religion, catholic sister praying in church, holding c - Stock image

A bullish President Jacob Zuma on Sunday reiterated his call for the church and the clergy to stay away from politics.

Zuma said the church should stop meddling in political matters as their role was to pray for them.

Zuma was addressing thousands of Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ (TACC) members during their International Thanksgiving Day celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Buoyed by the sermon of Chief Apostle Prof Caesar Nongqunga who said Zuma should be forgiven for all his transgressions‚ Zuma wasted no time in putting the church in its place.

“It is sad to see the church and church leaders getting mired into matters of politics instead of praying for leaders. I urge the church to pray for us as leaders‚ pray for our people to stop the hatred. I urge you to assist us to build a stable nation built on love‚” said Zuma.

Leaders of the South African Council of Churches like Reverend Frank Chikane‚ Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein have been unequivocal in their call for Zuma to step down.

Zuma has been under siege by the church and similar calls before have also been made by Anglican Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu and Anglican Bishop Thabo Makgoba.

However‚ on Sunday the President got a surprise reprieve when Nongqunga painted him as a victim.

“If the president was really corrupt would he still be here among us?” asked Nongqunga during his hour-long sermon amid rapturous applause that brought a smile from Zuma who all the while had remained stone-faced.

“Set him free‚ what has he done that anyone else hasn’t done? Is paying off your debt a crime‚ is that a crime?” he said referring to Zuma securing of a R7.8 loan from VBS Mutual Bank to pay off his Nkandla home debt.

“Before you judge him‚ just remember what others before him had done‚” said Nongqunga.

“The Holy Spirit teaches that all the sins and all the transgressions are forgivable. It teaches us to forgive the unforgivable. All that which is unforgivable He’s the only one who can forgive it‚” he said.

Nongqunga said it should be respected how people had voted and why they voted the ANC and Zuma into power.

“Respect even the DA in all those municipalities it won‚ do not fight them‚ but assist them to govern because God chose them to govern. So all opposition parties including the DA have a duty to assist the governing party. They should assist them in improving its governance. Do not slam or pull the man down‚” he said referring to Zuma.

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