President Jacob Zuma greets people as he arrives to address church leaders, ANC and women's organisation in Potchefstroom, North WEst Province where they endorsed the ANC's manifesto, 200314 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Potchefstroom - North West ANC, church and traditional leaders have asked embattled ANC President Jacob Zuma to ignore the damning Nkandla report against him.

The calls were made when Zuma visited Potchefstroom on Thursday to witness the endorsement of his party’s manifesto ahead of the May 7 polls.

Other ANC leaders and former exile Ann Ngutshana attacked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and told her: “Hands off Zuma.”

Other speakers, particularly senior church leaders, echoed the same sentiments and berated Madonsela.

Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini insinuated that the Nkandla report was the work of the DA.

“They claim that the ANC was better under Nelson Mandela. They also claim that the ANC was better under (former president) Thabo Mbeki. But, in reality, they fought against Mandela, they fought against Thabo Mbeki. Now they are fighting against President Zuma.

“Their aim is one, and it is to destroy the ANC,” Dlamini said.

In his reply, Zuma avoided making any reference to Madonsela or the Nkandla report.

He appealed to his supporters to vote for the ANC and ignore new parties, in what was a clear reference to Cope, the EFF and AgangSA.

He said some of the parties formed after 1994 had “disappeared into thin air”.

In a thinly veiled reference to Julius Malema and Mosiuoa Lekota, Zuma said: “Those (newly formed) parties will disappear tomorrow.

“Some left the ANC because of ideological differences; others were just angry because we disciplined them.”

In his closing remarks, Zuma reiterated comments that previously sparked controversy and said: “The ANC will rule until He comes back.”

He added: “I think the pastors and church leaders know who am I talking about.”

The Star