Zuma will surprise us - McCauley

By Maureen Isaacson Time of article published Nov 8, 2009

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Pastor Ray McCauley, who heads the Rhema Bible Church, believes President Jacob Zuma will surprise South Africans.

"He will go down in history as the president who has made a difference; he will produce results with his different, new leadership style."

McCauley admits he did not always see Zuma as a presidential candidate: "I did have fears about his administration. Yes, no one has any guarantees - all of us are concerned about the future, the country is in a place where we either can make it one of the greatest, or it will break."

McCauley, who casts himself as "a pastor with a high profile", who addresses full houses at the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, believes Zuma chose him to be president of the National Interfaith Leaders Council (Nilc) because of his own leadership skills.

"I had no idea he (Zuma) would become the leader of the country. When he came to the church to attend the funeral of Feziwe Faith Radebe, the wife of former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe, in October 2008, that was the first time we had met. I invited him to come to the church. He came on March 15 and spoke about the ANC's roots in the Christian faith. People say he only came to get on a platform and make a political speech. But he did not have to do that. We had 7 500 people. The following week, the stadiums were full of supporters at rallies organised for him... He knew the ANC would get a 60 percent advantage in the election."

In November, before Zuma became president, he invited 1 100 ministers to form an interfaith community to deal with corruption and service delivery issues.

He asked McCauley to lead the council, launched in July as Nilc.

Zuma was scheduled to attend Rhema's 30th anniversary conference recently, but couldn't. He will return to the church at a date still to be set, says McCauley.

Zuma has always said: "The ANC is blessed in heaven that is why it will rule until Jesus comes back", implying that it is a God-given party. Does Zuma really believe this?

McCauley: "The ANC has a strong Christian tradition. I have never discussed this statement with him. But he does believe his presidency is ordained by God. I believe this in the same way I believe I am ordained to be a pastor."

Why did members of your congregation leave when he


"The reports were highly exaggerated. First they said 100s walked out, then 60, then 30. I did not see that. Then he carried on talking. We all prayed for him. Zuma went to our churches and other African churches in the ruralareas. He believes in the power of prayer and he

believes we should be organising national prayer days. He is not connected to any church at moment, he is very busy."

So you are working closely with the government now?

"Yes, but church and state cannot be one. We saw what happened in the past. When church and state become one, the state becomes God and the church becomes the state".

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