The ANC Youth League says President Jacob Zuma will not pay a cent towards the Nkandla upgrades as he did not ask for them. Photo: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley - The ANC in the Northern Cape has come out with guns blazing, accusing the media of maliciously and deliberately distorting the words of its provincial chairman, John Block, who was quoted as saying “walking with (ANC president) Zuma is like walking with God”.

The party’s provincial secretary, Zamani Saul, said that Block never said “walking with Zuma is like walking with God”.

“I was amongst thousands of activists, pastors and ANC supporters who were at the Jim Summers Hall, where the president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, addressed the people. He was introduced by Block, and in his introductory remarks he made reference to the pastors and priests that graced the event, saying: ‘We are happy that we have you, as religious leaders in our midst. If you are walking this road with us, we are sure of victory and blessings. When we walk with you, it is like we are walking with God, because you are God’s representatives’,” Saul said in a statement on Thursday.

He added that the media distorted the message in an attempt to present the ANC as “a blasphemous organisation, which disrespects Christianity and God”.

IOL’s sister publication the DFA, which carried the initial story, would like to put it on record that Block, when he introduced Zuma said: “I am going to call to the fore, the only candidate that we have for President, who was elected by the congress of the ANC, nominated by branches of the ANC to lead the ANC in this campaign... we don’t have doubts about that. We are not uncertain about that.

“That is why we are already talking about what must happen after May 7. We are already talking about Youth Day, on June 16, because we are confident about the future. Because we are not walking this path alone sihamba nabefundisi . . . sihamba nabefundisi (we are walking with priests . . . we are walking with priests).

“Because we know Xha uhamba nomfundisi kufana nokuthi uhamba noThixo (when you walk with a priest it is like walking with God).”

People started to cheer in the hall.

Zuma then took the podium and after his address, Saul urged party members who were in the hall not to forget that Zuma was an ordained priest. “uZuma ngumfundisi (is a priest). He is an ordained priest!”

In his response on Thursday, Saul added the ANC was started by religious leaders, and it has always believed in the supernatural guidance of God throughout its 102 years of existence.

“That is why all, without any exception, our events are opened by prayer to request God’s spirit to guide us in our deliberations and decisions. Zuma, in all his speeches of the day, asked ANC members to pray harder, play an active role in the church and continue to trust in God to make South Africa a better place,” Saul said.

“No amount of misrepresentation or any deliberate action by the media will make our people lose confidence in the ANC. We demand a retraction and correction of that article by the DFA. We will follow all the necessary channels to have this gross misrepresentation corrected,” Saul said.

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