WATCH: Veiled swipes at Cyril Ramaphosa during Jacob Zuma welcome-home rally in Durban
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Durban - The Jacob Zuma welcome rally in Durban on Thursday was partly used by some religious guests for veiled swipes at Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC and country’s president, who is under fire from radical economic transformation (RET) proponents of the governing party.
As the rally got under way in the absence of Zuma, who was apparently advised by his military health services doctor to focus on his “failing health”, religious leaders took turns in affirming that the former head of state was the “chosen one”.
While the speakers focused on affirming their undying backing of Zuma, and that they would pray for him to get well after he was freed on September 5 on medical grounds, two months into his 15-month jail term for contempt of the Constitutional Court, others took aim at Ramaphosa.
Without naming Ramaphosa, Professor Caeser Nongqunga, the chief apostle of the Twelve Apostles Christ in Church, told the supporters of Zuma that the former leader is a “chosen one” and he does not have to bribe people to be elected to power.
WATCH: Twelve Apostles church Chief Apostle, Dr Caeser Nongqunga is now stage at the Zuma welcome home rally in Durban. He said, among other things, the time for leaders who buy members for votes, is over. He also pleaded for political parties to unite. @IOL #ZumaPrayer pic.twitter.com/d5VpdKAcR6— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 14, 2021
“Zuma is a born leader, he is not like those who had to be elected to lead … he does not have to buy people to elevate him to power,” he said in apparent reference to allegations that Ramaphosa spent over R1 billion to buy voters at the 2017 Nasrec conference where he defeated Dr Nkosazana Dlamini.
Ramaphosa has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying they are baseless and he does not know who donated to the CR17 fund, the documents of which are now sealed by the courts.
Preaching in isiXhosa, Nongqunga said, among other things, that the time for leaders “who buy members for votes is over”, drawing wild cheers from the crowd that had gathered for the rally.
He urged political parties to unite in order to change the plight of the people and at the start of his sermon, said their plight had worsened to a lower standard – lower than that of the apartheid era.
The Jacob Zuma welcome home rally has started at the Moses Mabhida's People’s Park in Durban. Zuma is yet to arrive - that is if he will. Independent Media sniffed that military health services doctors advised Zuma to focus on nursing his fragile health. @IOL #ZumaPrayer pic.twitter.com/IrEcnPQPys— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 14, 2021
Nongqunga is also the “spiritual father” of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), the party where the spokesperson of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, Mzwanele Manyi, is head of policy.
Nongqunga came to the rally escorted by ATM president Vuyo Zungula, provincial leader Mxolisi Phakathi, and a handful of party supporters who during the proceedings shared a marquee with ANC members.
Among those spotted at the rally was Zuma’s vociferous daughter, Duduzile, the twin daughter of Duduzane.
Despite an earlier confirmation that KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala would be attending the event, he later pulled out. The reasons for his decision were not made public.