Cyril Ramaphosa blames bad weather for missing Shembe church service

09 January 2019 - 14:23 By NEO GOBA
President Cyril Ramaphosa sits next to former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu and Nkosi Biyela from the Shembe church at a service in Ezikhawini near Empangeni, while he was still deputy president.
President Cyril Ramaphosa sits next to former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu and Nkosi Biyela from the Shembe church at a service in Ezikhawini near Empangeni, while he was still deputy president.
Image: JACKIE CLAUSEN

President Cyril Ramaphosa was a no-show at church event north of Durban on Wednesday morning because his helicopter could not land because of bad weather.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to attend a church service at the  eBuhleni branch of the Shembe church.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala spoke in his place.

Zikalala pleaded with Shembe congregants to pray for peaceful elections.

"Chief of chiefs, 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.

He told congregants who came out in their numbers that the first president of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube, had forged a working relationship with the Shembe church.

ANC eThekwini regional chair and mayor Zandile Gumede echoed Zikalala’s plea.

"As the leadership of the ANC deployed to this church, we humbly request that you pray for peace as we head to elections.

"Chief of chiefs, we humble ourselves before you and we ask for victory in the upcoming election as the elected leadership," pleaded Gumede.

When Zikalala announced that Ramaphosa would no longer be coming, it was clear that the congregants were disappointed.

The Shembe congregation boasts about four million members countrywide.

On Saturday, the ANC will launch its manifesto at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.


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