ANC’s ‘God’ references may contravene electoral code

2014-03-28 10:59

The Christian Democratic Party will check if the African National Congress’ continued misuse of God for political purposes is a contravention of the electoral code, says its leader.

“The continued remarks by ANC cadres, with President Jacob Zuma leading the pack, which are offensive to Christians, continue unabated in spite of kind requests, reprimands and even serious criticism pointing out that they are blasphemous,” CDP leader Theunis Botha said in a statement today.

“We will ... establish whether these offensive remarks towards Christians do not contravene the electoral code.”

The Star and its sister paper, the Diamond Fields Advertiser, yesterday published the same article quoting ANC Northern Cape chairperson John Block as saying that walking with Zuma “is like walking with God”.

The Northern Cape secretary of Zamani Saul yesterday disputed the article, saying Block had never said that.

“... In his [Block’s] introductory remarks, he made reference to the pastors and priests who graced the event, saying ‘we are happy that we have you, as religious leaders in our midst ... When we walk with you, it is like we are walking with God because you are God’s representatives’,” said Saul.

He said no reference was made to Zuma and he demanded a retraction of the article.

The Star today said it stood by its story and quoted Saul as urging party members not to forget that Zuma was an ordained priest.

“UZuma ngumfundisi [is a priest]. He is an ordained priest,” said Saul.

ANC Northern Cape spokesperson Keitumetse Mathiba told Sapa this was correct.

“Yes, it is correct. Zuma is a priest.”

She said many ANC members were priests and pastors from different religious denominations.

Botha said despite the ANC disputing the quote, the party had invoked the name of God before.

“We welcome the fact that the ANC, this time around, objected by stating that Block was quoted out of context, but this does not alter the fact that the ANC continues to misuse God for political purposes – even when justifying actions and policies that are contrary to biblical morality,” he said.

“This incident with Block – which occurred in the presence of Zuma as far as we know – was not reprimanded by him.”

Botha said the CDP had no choice but to take up the issue with the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Language, Religious, and Cultural Communities.

ANC national spokesperson Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said remarks by its leaders were sensationalised.

“I don’t think we will be commenting on that for now. There has been a concerted effort to sensationalise the remarks made by ANC leaders,” she said.

“The ANC ... would never seek to use the name of God in vain.”

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