President Jacob Zuma has come under fire for saying that citizens who opted to vote for an opposition party chose what he termed “hell”, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported on Saturday.
Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma said if a South African voted for the ANC, one chose heaven, but a vote for the opposition meant hell.
He was addressing people in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape as part of the ANC’s registration drive ahead of the 2011 local government elections.
Responding to the statement, African Christian Democratic Party president Kenneth Meshoe said Zuma’s comments were a disgrace.
‘Laughing stock of the nation’
Meshoe said no angels would be wearing ANC colours and Zuma’s statement was simply blasphemous.
“I am shocked to hear that the South African president would make such a ludicrous statement. It is not only shocking but it is disappointing to hear the head of state that should be an example of integrity choosing to be the laughing stock of the nation by being deceptive.
“This is nothing but deceptive. Nobody can access heaven because of their membership of a political party. For him to suggest that the angels in heaven are also wearing the colours of the ANC, that is nothing but blasphemy.
“All the Christians in the ANC should write a petition to their president and also ask the president to apologise for such shocking blasphemy … angels are not political beings,” he told the broadcaster.
Zuma pleased with turnout
Meanwhile, Zuma’s spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the president had expressed his approval with the turnout of citizens in Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape for the first phase of voter registration.
“He is pleased with the turnout of people who came to check their particulars, especially the youth,” said Zizi Kodwa in a statement.
The elections were expected to be held between April and May.
Earlier this week Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Brigalia Bam urged youngsters aged 18 and 19 to register to vote this weekend.
Bam said over 60 000 registration officials would be at voting stations countrywide. She encouraged those who had already registered to confirm their registration status by SMSing their ID number to 32810. – Sapa