The Shembe Nazareth Baptist Church on Tuesday told Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be straight about his intentions to be elected president of the African National Congress.
Ramaphosa was told this during a visit to the eGibisile Home in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, at the invitation of Prophet Unyazilwezulu Shembe.
The deputy president joined thousands of congregants to celebrate the life and times of founder and leader Prophet Isaiah Shembe.
Ramaphosa told congregants he was not there to ask for blessings for his presidential bid, but rather to ask the church to pray for the ANC-led government which was “languishing under a dark cloud”, Timeslive reported.
Ramaphosa referred to the recent heckling and booing of President Jacob Zuma at Cosatu’s May Day rally.
This led to Zuma being unable to address the crowd and the cancellation of the rally.
Ramaphosa said this display showed that things were not right within the ANC and government and asked the church to pray for the party and government.
He said he was not there to ask for anything else but to request the church’s prayers and to learn about the founding prophet.
In response, church leaders told Ramaphosa to be straight with his request and not beat about the bush.
Leading the charge was pastor Mthandeni Ntombela, who told Ramaphosa he would be president, whether he liked it or not and that this was his ANC.
Ntombela said Ramaphosa must be direct with his request, as Zuma had been when he asked for the position of president and for his corruption charges to disappear.
He lashed out at Zuma for failing to return to the church to say thanks after his election. This failure led to Zuma’s current woes, Ntombela charged.
He also told the presidential hopeful to not make the same mistakes Mangosuthu Buthelezi and former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu made by not being specific in their requests.
Ntombela told Ramaphosa, who was invited back to the church, to return with a specific request and not to be shy as he could wake up and discover that the position had been taken by someone else.
Ramaphosa was accompanied by the former premier.
He is set to return to the church on July 4 for the church’s conference.