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One of South Africa’s largest churches will not be getting involved in politics - Zionist Church

Apr 12 '16 | By La Afrique Media | Views: 853 | Comments: 0


The Zionist Christian Church (ZCC) issued a statement on Monday‚ repeating its stance as “outlined during this year’s Easter sermon” that “instability benefits no one”.

“We would like to reiterate our long-standing and inelastic policy that THE ZCC IS ABOVE POLITICS.”

The church urged its members to “refrain from any actions and behaviour that that may harm the good name of the ZCC by aligning it to a particular political view”.

The statement comes as the Presidency and the Congress of the People (Cope) are embroiled in a war of words over “impressions” that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told churches to stay out of politics.

The ZCC’s statement noted the “recent political developments sweeping our beloved country…following pronouncements of the Constitutional Court regarding State President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly”.

 “In the aftermath of that historic ruling by the Constitutional Court‚ several religious leaders made statements regarding the matter under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches‚ which the ZCC is not a member of‚” it said.

It said that among them was a “male figure who paraded himself wearing ZCC insignia…making the call for…Zuma to resign”.

This created a “wrong impression that the ZCC was part of the group”‚ and the church “stated for the record that the person in question was not mandated nor appointed by the ZCC to represent it in that forum”.

“His conduct or presence at the said meeting wearing the church’s emblem has brought the church into disrepute‚” the church said.

“We condemn his actions and distance ourselves and the spiritual head of the ZCC (His Grace the Right Reverend Bishop Barnabas) Lekganyane from same.”

On Tuesday morning‚ Ramaphosa‚ noting the “role the churches have played in the history of the country”‚ set out to “correct the incorrect impressions” that he told churches to stay out of politics.

“During the church service held at Mahwelereng’s Church of the First Born‚ Deputy President Ramaphosa implored the congregation to pray for leaders and the government‚” a Presidency statement said of Sunday’s address.

“An impression that may have been created that the church should not get involved in politics is therefore incorrect.”

The statement said Ramaphosa “appreciates and remembers…the outstanding role the churches played during the struggle against apartheid mobilising the international community against what the broader church termed a heresy.”

The clarification comes after Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem had‚ in announcing his party’s withdrawal from parliamentary activities‚ citing the ruling party’s refusal to act against Zuma‚ also attacked Rampahosa.

“…Cope has noted with shock the declaration by…Ramaphosa that church leaders should not meddle in politics but that they should pray for government and government leaders‚” Bloem said

“Cope places it on record that we reject this misguided statement by the deputy president demeaning religious leaders with the contempt that it deserves.” Bloem added.

He said Cope recalled the “with deep gratitude those religious leaders who in the course of the struggle stood courageously by the oppressed people in the fight to overthrow apartheid”.

“We remember how they rejected out of hand calls by leaders of the apartheid regime not to stray into politics.

“It may be that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa slept through those years of the struggle when these men and women in the religious establishment stood up in opposition to apartheid and spoke out against its evil‚” Bloem added.

The Presidency statement appeared to address this by saying: “Deputy President Ramaphosa welcomes the robust manner in which the churches and all other religious formations have engaged the government on critical issues facing our country.

“Deputy President is of the conviction that working together with the churches and indeed other religious formations we can help create a better life for all our people and move our country forward.”

Cope’s decision on a withdrawal from National Assembly proceedings followed a meeting of the party’s Congress Executive Committee in Johannesburg on Monday to consider the recent judgment of the Constitutional Court which ruled that Zuma had violated the constitution.

The party said it had resolved not to allow any Cope representative in the National Assembly to take part in its proceedings until there was clarity from the Constitutional Court on how to proceed.

“Cope is determined not to make itself guilty through participation in activities that are in contempt of court. Our representatives cannot break their oath of office.

“To this end Cope‚ working with other like-minded opposition parties‚ will approach the ConCourt to seek clarity on the way forward‚” said Bloem.

source: Times Live


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