Durban — With tensions rising between former president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party and the ANC, bishop Vusi Dube of Ethekwini Community Church has called for dialogue and mediation to avoid bloodshed.
Dube, who was Zuma’s staunch supporter, said he feared there would be blood on the floor as both parties intensify their election campaigns.
Dube called on interfaith leaders to stand up now, intervene and preach peace before things get out of hand.
Dube, who is currently an ANC member in the provincial legislature, said interfaith leaders should avoid being caught off guard again as happened during 2021 civil unrest.
Dube said his fears were informed by the hurling of insults between MK and ANC supporters on social media platforms daily. Those insults could spark political violence similar to that of IFP and ANC in the past, Dube said. There should be political maturity and tolerance between the ANC and MK.
“Church leaders must play an active role. We must act now to stop our province from going back to that dark past,” Dube warned.
He was busy engaging other church leaders and the business community, Dube said. It was important for businesses and churches to support peace initiatives.
“Instability affects everyone as was seen during the 2021 riots where businesses and churches were vandalised.”
Dube said it should be remembered that the emergence of the MK party has divided families like it happened between the IFP and the ANC in the past where a father remained an IFP member while his kids joined the ANC underground Struggle.
On whether he would still support Zuma when he returns to court for his corruption case as he had done in the past, Dube said he would engage both Zuma and the ANC on that, saying there must be dialogue. He was aware that it would be difficult for him to be in court again as he had been doing since that should be construed as supporting the MK party, he said.
Dube’s prophecies of violence were supported by political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe, who said he fully supported Dube’s call given the tensions that now rises between the two parties.
Seepe said fear of losing has started taking a toll on ANC leaders, given President Cyril Ramaphosa’s utterances that if the ANC loses power student funding and social grants will disappear.
Seepe described this as an act of desperation informed by fear of losing.
“Ramaphosa knew he was lying. Why does the ANC think it is the only government that could give grants to the poor?”
In further support of Dube’s call, Seepe said that since it was unknown how the ANC would react to a loss of power it was important for the country to be proactive to mitigate or prevent the unbecoming behaviour of the ANC.
“I fully agree with Dube. Many ANC members who are in government have never worked before and some have no professions they could go back to if they lose power. Such people do not normally accept defeat. Secondly, the ANC has no experience of loss of power; it would be for the first time if it loses so no one can predict how they will behave. Losing 30 years of good life would not be accepted easily so it is possible that a riot would take place,” said Seepe.
MK party spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlela said his party was already working with interfaith leaders through a working relationship with the All African Alliance Movement to make sure MK party supporters behave in a respectful and spiritual manner. Ndlela said they were weary of distraction as they took a journey to prosperity. AAAM was founded by a group of church leaders who wanted churches to have a say on how the ANC was running the country.
“We are calling on our members not to fall for provocation by the people who would want to distract them from their mission. We are not fighting with anyone so anyone picking a fight with us we will respond at the ballot box,” said Ndlela.
ANC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal Mafika Mndebele said ANC members would not cause violence because the party always emphasised discipline.
During ANC activities leading up to the party’s 112 anniversary celebrations in Mpumalanga on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy Paul Mashatile used words like snakes and wolves, which was construed as referring to Zuma and those ANC members who have left to join the MK party.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.