DURBAN - Religious and traditional leaders and members of the ANC visited Dr Zweli Mkhize at his homestead in Pietermaritzburg to pray for him and his family, and to thank him for his service to the nation.
Various leaders took to the podium and said that Mkhize was an outstanding leader who had sacrificed his life in the Struggle and fought for the liberation of this country.
Bishop Vusi Dube, from the eThekwini Community Church, said that various heads of churches had decided to thank Mkhize for his contributions in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that Mkhize led from the front line and defeated the deadly waves of the pandemic without fearing for his life.
“His whole family was here in Pietermaritzburg throughout the pandemic. He showed leadership when the country was at its knees battling the virus. We came together as pastors to say that we believe in him as a leader of the people.”
Speaking about the leaders who called for Mkhize to run for the presidency of the ANC in 2024, Dube said that It was in their power to pronounce on who should lead the party. However, if the branches called for him to run, the pastors would pray for his success.
Holiness Reunion Church of Southern Africa Bishop Mambo Mkhize said that South Africans needed Mkhize as a leader because he understood his country’s needs more than any other leader.
“We came here to pray, as different churches, to pray with him and his family. We are proud of him for his service and we know very well that he worked under difficult circumstances.” ANC ward 2 eThekwini chairperson Qaphelani Hlatswayo, said it was important for Mkhize to receive prayers and blessings as he had at some point fallen ill when he was health minister.
“Khabazela is a good leader and can lead anywhere in the structures of the movement. If branches were to send him to lead, we have confidence in his leadership. However, today (Thursday) we are here to pray,” said Hlatswayo.
The holy men and traditional leaders also urged Mkhize to make himself available to contest the top position in the ANC.
KwaNdwalane traditional leader iNkosi Sazi Nelson Ndwalane said the time had come for pastors to have a conversation about Mkhize helping them “breathe” as they were all suffocated and unable to express their frustrations.
“Even the churches and schools must discuss how Mkhize will build a conducive space for everyone to breathe. Pastors must tell their church members that Mkhize can help the nation breathe as we move towards 2024.
“As we have these conversations, we must encourage branches of the ANC to engage with the people and not get into the factions of the ANC. The people must be consulted on the 2024 general elections, when the nation will decide on who must take us forward, so we can all breathe,” said iNkosi Ndwalane.
Showing his appreciation, Mkhize said that every leader in their respective church structures and traditional leaders had a purpose to serve the people and be at their service whenever they called for guidance and leadership.
“We have worked together with the Christian and Muslim community and traditional leadership, I am happy to see that these leaders continue working together to promote peace and unity. I am pleased to see that we are still keeping with the culture of the interfaith. Many people don’t understand what holds our nation together – it is precisely the number of cultures, religions and faiths that help us find each other.
“When we find each other as humans and as ‘abantu’, that is when we become true South Africans. In this case, this is where we find value with all the religious leaders who can help all of us raise our consciousness to say that we are one people and we are all made in the same image of God,” said Mkhize.
The ruling party’s 55th national elective conference is set to take place later this year, where various senior leaders of the ANC will lock horns in the battle to be part of the highly respected top six positions.