Church leaders slam Malema for 'EFF is like the coming of Jesus' statement

Hlengiwe Hlophe-Maxon, Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema celebrate the EFF's fifth birthday in the Eastern Cape at the weekend.
Hlengiwe Hlophe-Maxon, Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema celebrate the EFF's fifth birthday in the Eastern Cape at the weekend.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

Church leaders in the Eastern Cape yesterday blasted EFF leader Julius Malema after his statement in Mdantsane at the weekend that "the EFF is like the coming of Jesus".

Nelson Mandela Bay church leaders have slammed as blasphemy Malema's statement on Saturday at the packed 16 000-seat Sisa Dukashe Stadium to celebrate the EFF's fifth birthday.

"Jesus is not going to walk in like an identifiable someone. Jesus comes in different forms and Jesus arrived in Marikana five years ago," Malema said to the cheering crowd.

According to reports, the EFF firebrand said Jesus was the EFF.

Speaking on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Church Leadership Group, Methodist Bishop Jacob Freemantle yesterday said Malema sought only to score political points.

"As ecumenical churches, we do not accept a narrative that seeks to score political points in such abuse and ridiculing of the truths of the Christian faith," Freemantle said.

"While we are praying for discourse freely exercised by all political parties in our democracy, we must warn against abuse of any religious faiths and truths.

"Political parties must desist from the practice of cheapening our truths while canvassing their support."

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Malema is not the first politician to use Jesus in his address. Former president Jacob Zuma used to say the ANC will rule the country until Jesus comes.

Nelson Mandela also used to joke that the first thing he would do when he arrived in heaven was to look for the ANC branch.

In a wide-ranging address on Saturday, Malema delivered threats against "corrupt local leaders" and criticised South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

He also made suggestions for improved municipal services, including the building of houses that are better suited for dignified human beings.

He called for land redistribution and gave a recitation of the EFF's parliamentary achievements.

Yesterday, Malema gave the Vukuhambe Special Needs School a massive cake and announced that the school would be "adopted" into the EFF's legacy project.

He promised to build a computer lab for the children, saying having computer skills would vastly improve their chances of getting jobs later.

He served a few children himself.

- Additional reporting by Sowetan and Herald

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