ANC's Sihle Zikalala asks church for election blessings
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala has asked the leadership of a faction of the Shembe church for blessings ahead of the national elections.
He was speaking on behalf of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa who couldn’t make it due to bad weather conditions en route to the church's headquarters, Ikhenani Lamanazaretha Asebuhleni, in Ndwendwe, north of Durban. Zikalala asked the congregation to bless the province and the governing party as it heads towards a tough election contest.
"We want to ask for blessings in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the whole nation to have peace as we head to elections. We ask for prayers, blessings and peace in the province as it's well known for [political] violence and we are hopeful that the chief of chiefs will grant us those blessings," said Zikalala.
The leadership of the ANC is crisscrossing KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the party's main January 8 celebrations at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Zikalala told congregants who came out in their numbers that the first president of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube, had forged good relations with the church.
ANC eThekwini regional chairperson Zandile Gumede echoed Zikalala’s sentiments.
"As the leadership of the ANC deployed to this church, we humbly request that you pray for peace as we head to elections. We humble ourselves before you and we ask for victory in the upcoming election as the elected leadership," said Gumede.
Ramaphosa was expected to attend a service at the church on Wednesday morning but heavy fog along the route forced him to cancel his plans.
The Shembe church boasts about 4-million members countrywide.
Ramaphosa had previously visited the Nazareth Baptist Church at Mtubatuba, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, where he met members of the Ebuhlenu faction of the church, led by Mduduzi Shembe.
He used that visit to ask the church to pray for a peaceful ANC elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg in December 2017.