WATCH: KZN Premier takes a dig at 'Ramaphosa is not God' Bishop
Durban - KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has poured scorn on the calls made by controversial KZN Bishop Timothy Ngcobo, who wants churches to defy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ban on religious gatherings in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.
In a veiled swipe on Monday after meeting with religious leaders in Durban to ask them to lend their support in the fight against the virus, Zikalala questioned the support Ngcobo has on the ground in order to carry out his threat.
He said he and Ngcobo hailed from the peri-urban village of Ndwedwe outside Durban and in the past Ngcobo organised shutdowns that were not as effective as they were not well attended by the people of the area.
“To say that you will continue on your own does mean that you have more than 100 people (as supporters), that’s (the) first (thing) you must understand. It doesn’t, it doesn't automatically mean that you command that support and I don’t want to deal with that,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala said they have sent a team from the religious sector to ask Ngcobo why “he wants to put the lives of our people in jeopardy.”
“I wouldn’t want to speak about him personally because you all know that I am from Ndwedwe and he also hails from Ndwedwe and there have been a lot of shutdowns he has been trying to organise and most of them were not successful. We have had open shutdowns,” Zikalala added.
He further stressed that nobody will be allowed to have a gathering of more than 100 people, and Ngcobo who recently said “Ramaphosa is not God” to stop the Easter gathering, is included in those who would not be allowed to gather.
Meanwhile, The Hlangana Zion of KZN, an association of zionists churches in the province used the opportunity to distance itself from Ngcobo. Bishop Thulani Gwala, the President Hlangana Zion of KZN said Ngcobo was not speaking on their behalf and then apologised to Ramaphosa.
“We have seen on social media that some are spreading very very bad information that zionists (churches) continue to go to Good Friday. On behalf of Zionists we need a very immediate act(tion) on (sic) the government on that because we have seen people spreading that we are not going to comply or we are defying what the president has said on the 15th that there will be no gathering (sic).
“And on behalf of zionists in the province we are saying we are complying with the government (sic), so this is our provincial approach as we are here to say we are apologising… Those statements that are out they are not from all zionists churches and they are from individual people. This is not a political issue, this is very serious. On behalf of zionists we are apologizing about that statement and we will comply with everything that government have said,” Gwala said.