/ 29 January 2024

Ramaphosa promises state will build houses for Shembe congregants

President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC leadership in KZN visited eBuhleni to meet Nazareth Baptist Church leader Nyazilwezulu Shembe and bring gifts to the leader. Photo: Supplied

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Nazareth Baptist Church commonly ,known as the Shembe Church, on Saturday, promising that government would build more houses in Inanda, near Ebuhleni, where the eight million strong church has its headquarters.

The ANC is a facing stiff competition from its splinter party, the Umkhonto weSizwe party (MK), which is threatening to deny the ruling party an outright majority in KwaZulu-Natal in the upcoming elections, and the visit to Ebuhleni has been viewed as a bid by the party to win support ahead of elections.

The church is led by Mduduzi Shembe, who in recent months has been receiving leaders of various political parties seeking the church’s blessing and endorsement.

During his Saturday visit to the church, Ramaphosa promised to build houses for the congregation’s followers.

Led by former president Jacob Zuma, the MK party is seeking to tap into the former president’s popularity, particularly in Zuma’s home province of KZN.

While the MK party’s leaders claim that the new party is composed of members of the ANC’s liberation struggle military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, the bulk of the former ANC soldiers have distanced themselves from the MK party.

Despite campaigning for a rival party, Zuma insists that he remains an ANC member.

However, ANC leaders, who, in recent weeks have been under pressure to expel Zuma from the governing party, are of the view that by endorsing a rival party, Zuma has expelled himself from the ANC.

There were expectations that the ANC national executive committee (NEC), which closed its three-day meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday, would during the course of the week officially pronounce itself on Zuma, who recently told his MK supporters: “I will die in the ANC”.

ANC KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo has warned ANC members aligning themselves with the MK party that they would be suspended from the ANC.

 This story was first published by The Witness.