Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Now for the gospel according to Zuma

Polokwane - There are no "supreme members" in the ANC, not even President Jacob Zuma, the party's Limpopo chairperson Cassel Mathale said on Tuesday.

All ANC members were volunteers, including Zuma, Mathale said on the last day of the party's Limpopo elective conference, held outside Polokwane.

"We should all appreciate that fact," he said during his closing address. He was re-elected the party's leader in the province, defeating Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla.

Mathale's victory was seen as a boost to his and his close ally, suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's reported efforts to unseat Zuma as ANC president.

On Tuesday, ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said the conference was not to be considered a foundation for the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December 2012.

Personal gain

He criticised those within the party who occupied positions for personal gain, rather than to better the lives of the poor.

"It is very hard for some comrades to execute a political task without expecting any material gain. Comrades want to implement a political task with a personal gain in their hands."

Mathale said the ANC continued to lose members who were not made councillors. Some caused division because they were not appointed to certain positions.

"We must never lose sight of the fact that we cannot all lead at the same time. This is a reality that we must not forget."

Many had fought for the country's liberation, without expecting favours. Instead they remained disciplined, honest and active in the organisation.

No hard feelings

He called on members to support those who had been given a "political responsibility", and not to raise dissatisfaction through the media or protests.

Phaahla said he would continue his work in the government and support the newly-elected leadership.

Soon after Mathale was declared winner on Sunday, he said there were no hard feelings between them, and they would remain comrades. Mathale beat Phaahla by 601 votes to 519.

Some of Phaahla's supporters left the conference after his defeat.

Mathale, who is also Limpopo premier, recently had five of his provincial government departments placed under administration following allegations of financial mismanagement.

His government had asked the Treasury to increase its overdraft facility by R1bn so it could meet its obligations. He has since said he supported the intervention.


Now for the gospel according to Zuma

President Jacob Zuma during the launch of Valingozi road safety campaign and crime awareness drive yesterday, in KwaMaphumulo, KwaZulu-Natal, where he blamed Christianity for Africa's problems

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Gospel according to Julius President Jacob Zuma has blamed religion, particularly Christianity, for the loss of humanity in society.

The ANC leader, who was ordained as a priest of the Full Gospel Church, in KwaZulu-Natal in 2007, said yesterday that the arrival of Christianity brought problems for Africans.

"As Africans, long before the arrival of religion and the gospel, we had our own ways of doing things.

"Those were times that the religious people refer to as dark days but we know that, during those times, there were no orphans or old-age homes. Christianity has brought along these things," he said.

Zuma was speaking at KwaMaphumulo, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, during the launch of a road safety and crime awareness campaign.

It is not the first time that Zuma has raised eyebrows with his comments on religion.

In June this year he was forced to apologise to the SA Council of Churches for "misusing" Jesus' name during the local government elections campaign.

As the ANC prepares to celebrate its centenary, Zuma's statements fly in the face of the ruling party's rich history of association with the churches.

The ANC was formed in 1912 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Waaihoek, Bloemfontein, and its founding president, Dr John Langalibalele Dube, was a priest.

Yesterday, African Christian Democratic Party leader the Rev Kenneth Meshoe lambasted Zuma and said his comments were "hypocritical".

"Firstly, the president needs to be rebuked for hypocrisy because for him to blame Christianity when he knows churches were at the forefront of the struggle is disappointing," Meshoe said, "and he knows that what he said is not true, having claimed to be a Christian himself.

"Secondly, during elections he doesn't run to the graveyards to get votes from the ancestors, but he runs to churches."

On the "orphanages" and "old- age homes" issues, taught children to look after their parents.

"It is ridiculous for the President to make such suggestions. It's tantamount to foolishness to blame old-age homes on Christianity. In fact we teach children to take care of elders. We teach them against 'dumping' of parents at old-age homes."

Yesterday, Zuma said it was crucial that South Africans return to the "old days of doing things" because the modern way had caused problems in society.

"We have passed laws that prohibit you as a parent [from using] corporal punishment. Today, when, as a parent, you bring your child [to] order by using corporal punishment, you are breaking the law, but the person who passed that law cannot raise your child the way you want to.

"I am not blaming such legislation but I can't be diplomatic about this. It's a fact," Zuma said


ANC must rule for eternity: Motshekga
2011-12-21 07:44

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Polokwane - The ANC has a responsibility to rule Limpopo and the whole country "until Jesus pays another visit", ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the last day of the Limpopo ANC's elective conference in Polokwane, Mathale said each member had a responsibility to keep the movement alive.

"The organisation has a responsibility to rule until Jesus pays us another visit," he said to thunderous applause from delegates.

President Jacob Zuma received condemnation from religious groups after he made similar comments in 2009.

Greatest think tank in the world

The four-day conference ended on Tuesday. It saw Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale being re-elected as the ANC's provincial chairperson. He defeated Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla. Some members in Phaahla's camp left the conference soon after they learned he had lost.

"The ANC is the greatest think tank not only on the continent, but also in the world," he said.

Motshekga commended delegates for their understanding of the character of the ANC through robust discussions aimed at building, and not destroying the party.

Motshekga said the conference was not to be considered a foundation for the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December 2012.

"This conference is not about Mangaung, but about this province. The conference was not about the succession debate."

Succession debate

Mathale's victory was a confidence booster for him and his close ally, suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, in their reported efforts to unseat Zuma as ANC president.

However, several provinces still had to hold their elective conferences before the ANC's national conference.

ANC leaders had yet to open the process in which members in their respective branches debated, nominated and submitted lists of preferred candidates to higher structures.

"This province understands that. We should not allow anyone from outside to confuse us, because the choice of leadership of the ANC is the prerogative of the branches of the ANC, and they will do that at an appropriate time," Motshekga said.

Delegates in Polokwane however made it clear through songs and chants that, at Mangaung, they wanted Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma. They referred to the president as the "shower man".

Reactionary elements

Motshekga said people sometimes confused "genuine concerns" raised by members with conflict. Since its formation, the ANC had created space for its members to raise such concerns.

"The ANC belongs to its members and it will never allow a situation where any of its members feels like an outsider or stepchild. In this conference comrades understood that the ANC is a family and has to continue as such."

Motshekga reminded delegates that the party existed for nothing but delivering services to people.

In a veiled attack on the Democratic Alliance, Motshekga urged the conference to go back and "reconnect" with people and win back areas of the country run by "reactionary elements".

"Liberate our people, because as long as some reactionary elements still control parts of our country, it means our people are not truly liberated.

"We must work hard to make sure we liberate the Western Cape and some wards which have fallen into the hands of people who don't understand why we wanted freedom."


Read more on: anc | cassel mathale | joe phaahla | mathole motshekga | kgalema motlanthe | jacob zuma | julius malema | polokwane | politics | mangaung 2012

SACC slates Zuma's Christian comments
2011-12-21 15:23

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's comments that Christianity brought orphans and old-age homes to South Africa have come as a shock, the SA Council of Churches said on Wednesday.

"We are just taken aback. We are shocked and we don't understand," said SACC general secretary Reverend Mautji Pataki.

Zuma was quoted on TheTimesLive website as saying that "as Africans, long before the arrival of religion and [the] gospel, we had our own ways of doing things".

He was speaking at the launch of a road safety and crime awareness campaign at KwaMaphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Those were times that the religious people refer to as dark days, but we know that, during those times, there were no orphans or old-age homes. Christianity has brought along these things," he said.


Zuma's office has since issued a statement that sought to clarify his comments.

Pataki said that the council was "deeply disappointed" by the president's comments.

"We do not understand why the president, whom we have always counted as one amongst us Christians, would find the Christian faith to be so hopeless with regard to building humanity."

Pataki said that it was the "calling" of Christians to care for the vulnerable of society.

"The Lord Jesus Christ was a friend to orphans and widowers and the old and the disabled. Wherever they are, we will do our ministry... which is to take care of them. It's a calling. It's not a choice."

Co-founder of the International Orphan Network website, Sean Grant, said that South Africans needed to focus on the present.

"There is a great need for social services and care of orphan and widows.

"While there may have not been these institutions in the past, certainly we will see that the current culture in South Africa is abandonment and negligence. If it weren't for religious groups and non-profit organisations, there would be far more lack of care, if not dying," he said.

Social problems

In a statement on Wednesday, the presidency said that what Zuma had meant in his comments at KwaMaphumulo was that South Africans should not neglect African culture, while embracing Western culture and Christianity.

"While we should embrace Western culture and Christianity, we should not neglect the African ways of doing things," presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

Maharaj said that the faith-based sector had made a "sterling contribution" for the struggle for liberation and justice for over a century in SA.

He said Zuma would meet religious leaders in the new year to discuss how they could work together on various social problems.

Maharaj said that Zuma's comments at the campaign conveyed his views that "while we welcome the advent of Western culture, some useful traditional ways of doing things and aspects of African culture were undermined or even eroded".

"The president indicated, among other things, that Western culture had brought about the end of the extended family as an institution, leading to the need for government to establish old age homes, orphanages and other mechanisms to support the poor and vulnerable.

"He added that even poverty was an unknown factor as neighbours were always ready to assist each other, giving one another milk or cattle where needed."


Read more on: sacc | jacob zuma | religion | politics

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