ANC chaplain-general, the Reverend Vukile Mehana. File picture: Matthew Jordaan/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Embattled ANC chaplain-general, the Reverend Vukile Mehana, on Wednesday remained tight-lipped about his future in the governing party.

This comes as the party resolved to remove him from officiating at this year’s anniversary celebrations in Durban on Tuesday.

The decision is a huge blow for Mehana, who has been actively overseeing the religious activities at the celebrations for more than a decade.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said Mehana had been the party’s chaplain-general since 1997.

His removal from officiating the events stemmed from derogatory remarks that he made about women in a recorded conversation leaked on social media between himself and another man.

When contacted on Wednesday, Mehana said: “I am under instruction not to talk to the media, and you can talk to Zizi Kodwa about it.”

Earlier, new reports maintained that Mehana regretted making the alleged comments about women.

Kodwa told Independent Media that the governing party had not yet decided who would replace Mehana at the Moses Mabhida Stadium event to be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on January 12.

“The ANC chaplain has a number of structures, that is why even when we took a decision that he is not going to officiate in Durban.

“It was not a crisis because we have a provincial chaplain in KwaZulu-Natal and in all provinces.

“This does not mean that the event of the ANC will not have a chaplain,” added Kodwa.

He said that when the ANC national leaders gathered in Durban, it would discuss whether Mehana should be removed permanently from his position.

Kodwa further said that the position was “important and historical” in the ANC which started when the party was still banned.

“We are disappointed about the utterances, which are really derogatory against women in a country where the ANC has led the struggle for non-sexism.

“For anybody to make such utterances is unacceptable and disappointing,” said Kodwa.

Mehana’s church, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, had approached the ANC requesting his removal from the Durban event. Bishop Zipho Siwa said Mehana’s remarks were “shocking”.

“We note with dismay the blatant disrespect and portrayal of women who are characterised in a dismissive, humiliating and degrading caricature. “The objective of the anatomy of the women and its link to culture and religion is not only unacceptable but also equally distasteful,” read the presiding bishop’s statement.

SA Council of Churches’s Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said the comment, which Mehana claimed to have made “in the name of African theology were misplaced”.

“For him to disparage women ministers to the extent of referencing women’s breasts is absolutely disgusting and must be condemned unequivocally.”

“Mehana’s views are in contrast to the human rights prescripts of the Constitution that should be binding on all citizens. His views on women deserve the urgent attention of the Commission for Gender Equality.”

The Star