The ANC should not bother going to churches to ask for votes in the run-up to the elections in 2019 as they have undermined the country’s Christians by not listening to their voices, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) says.
Hundreds of Christians, led by South African Friends of Israel, marched in Pretoria to the Union Buildings yesterday, waving the blue and white flags of Israel.
Singing gospel songs and hymns, more than 500 people descended on the lawns of the Union Buildings where they were joined by ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota and chief Phakama Shembe.
The group demanded the reinstatement of the South African ambassador in Israel, who was recalled in May after Palestinians were killed in the Gaza strip, because, according to them, Israel is the home of the Christian faith.
The ANC was probably influenced by Palestine leader Mahmoud Abbas to weaken relations with Israel, ACDP leader Meshoe said.
“We want to say to the ANC: you made a big mistake by allowing Abbas to influence you to downgrade the Israeli embassy,” said Meshoe.
“We know that during elections you will be running to churches, asking for votes. The majority of the people here are Christians.
“If you do not listen to the millions of Christians in South Africa that do not want the downgrade of the Israeli embassy, then next year, at election time, Abbas, who influences you, will not be here to vote for you.”
In May, South African ambassador Sisa Ngombane was recalled after Israeli troops killed more than 50 Palestinian protesters and injured hundreds in an attack at the Gaza border.
Earlier this month, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the ambassador would not be going back until there was progress on the Israel-Palestine issue.
But Lekota said the ANC had acted like “cowboys” as the move was not approved by parliament.
“We are now robbed of access to the leadership of Israel to impact and influence them.
“Parliament did not authorise the government of the ANC to do what they have done. It is wrong. Instead, they are acting as cowboys by taking the ambassador away without getting authorisation from parliament,” he said.