Pretoria - The racist remark by evangelist Angus Buchan that suggested God favoured Afrikaans and Jewish people over everyone else were made due to frustrations over the severe drought, he said on Tuesday.
Buchan apologised for the comment during a media briefing in Centurion and said he was frustrated by the drought that has hit sub-Saharan Africa. He said he had repented.
According to Buchan, his intention was to encourage those who were suffering due to the drought by reminding them that God would never forsake them.
“I am very sorry for what has taken place and I denounce the idea of any special nation. I will therefore continue with all my heart to work towards bringing the whole of South Africa to unity,” he said.
Buchan added that in the past few weeks he had received letters from many people and farmers crying out for help and asking for prayer.
He was addressing the Christian Leaders Forum, comprising pastors and leaders of various churches and denominations in South Africa.
The forum said it had noted the apparent racial utterances made by Buchan, a well-known evangelist on mainstream and social media platforms.
Last week the Christian community in South Africa was left divided after a recording of Buchan was circulated by EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu on Twitter.
In it, Buchan could be heard saying: “Everybody is welcome as always to our meetings, but this time the emphasis will be on the Afrikaner nation.
“We are going to call out to God remembering that only two nations in the world have ever been in covenant with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are the Jewish people and the Afrikaans people, that is a fact.”
Buchan was promoting the Stand Up For Jesus prayer event planned for February 2020 at Loftus Stadium.
Afterwards, general secretary of the EFF Godrich Gardee weighed in, suggesting bombs be placed inside Loftus before the prayer event
In a now-deleted tweet, Gardee said: “That stadium needs some limpet mines booby-trapped around it prior to that date. Then let’s see what happens to the only people who have a ‘covenant with God’.
“I know this Boer religious fanatic is misrepresenting the Jewish people, but he must be banned from our television screens.”
Buchan then apologised on Facebook for his comments, repeating the apology on Twitter, saying his statement was a “misunderstanding”.
“I would like to apologise and clear up any misunderstanding that I might have made with the statement that went out recently.
“The word covenant in the Oxford Dictionary means ‘an agreement held to be the basis of a relationship of commitment with God’”.
Shivambu said in a tweet that Buchan was a racist. “A racist Boer pastor Angus Buchan says it’s only the Boers and Jews who have a covenant with God and he’s convening a predominantly Boer meeting at Loftus rugby stadium in February 2020. You can wish whatever you want Africa, but these people don’t want us,” said Shivambu.
Buchan said the planned prayer meeting would be cancelled.
Christian Leaders Forum representative Ananias Ralekgolela said some members sat with Buchan and had a two-hour long discussion about the remarks. “During the meeting Angus expressed his apology. We have accepted his apology and forgive him for his mistake.”
He added that they were committed to working with Buchan towards reconciliation and the advancement of the kingdom of God in South Africa.