South Africa

GOD AND THE ELECTIONS

Moria becomes the gathering point for politicians seeking blessings ahead of 29 May poll

Moria becomes the gathering point for politicians seeking blessings ahead of 29 May poll
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Bishop Joseph Lekganyane at the St Engenas Zion Christian Church in Moria on Easter Sunday on 31 March 2024.(Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and EFF leader Julius Malema were among the politicians who attended the Sunday Easter service of the St Engenas Zion Christian Church in Moria, Limpopo. This is an important way for the parties to ramp up their visibility especially ahead of the 29 May national poll. 

The area called Moria, just about 35km from Polokwane, houses the biggest churches in the country and arguably in southern Africa. The churches are part of the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC), but have been split into two sections: the St Engenas and Star groupings. 

The St Engenas group held its annual pilgrimage this past weekend to commemorate Easter, which saw tens of thousands of members flocking to Moria for the event, even from other southern African countries such as Eswatini and Botswana.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Churches should welcome politicians as members and guests but not as speakers of influence

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa attended the church’s Easter Sunday service where he received cheers and applause from churchgoers, who were sitting in rows on the lawn. 

Congregants gathered at the St Engenas Zion Christian Church in Moria on 31 March 2024.(Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

After the church proceedings were concluded, church leader Bishop Joseph Lekganyane gave Ramaphosa the opportunity to address the crowd consisting of men, women and children of all ages.

“Good afternoon Zion congregants, I am here in my own capacity and not as a politician. I want to congratulate you for running for 100 years. I have never seen so many people gathered until today. You all look so beautiful in church uniforms …” he said. 

Speaking to the media later, Ramaphosa said: “It is always a pleasure to come to ZCC, to come and to join in prayer with the Zionists. For me it is a humbling moment and a moment of great reflection, particularly when you hear the sermon delivered by the bishop, [who] delivered a very important and seminal sermon about practical things on how to take the country forward and how to make sure that our country can move ahead. So, I leave here uplifted, my spirits are high; I am happy to be here.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: As politicians hit the churches this weekend to win endorsement for their crosses, we find that church-based parties are doing better than before

Julius Malema and his wife, Mantwa Matlala, arrive at the St Engenas Zion Christian Church in Moria on Easter Sunday, 31 March 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

During his sermon, Lekgayane mentioned that the country had many natural resources and that it should mean everyone was employed. He emphasised the need for the government and citizens to unite in order to run the country efficiently.

“It is not only the government that has to do it, the private sector, labour and civil society, that is what the governing party, the ANC, is calling for. Together we can do more and deliver a better life for all,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that the ANC was looking to win an outright majority in the upcoming provincial and national elections.

“We are not in these elections to have coalitions, we are here for an outright majority, so I do not even begin to think about coalitions. They are thought about by those who do not think they are going to be victorious,” he reiterated.

Ramaphosa was flanked by the ANC’s head of elections, Mdumiseni Ntuli, Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Mostoaledi as well as mayors of various regions in the province and the ANC’s Limpopo leadership. 

At the same time, EFF leader Julius Malema also attended the service with his wife. The party’s head of presidency and MP, Vuyani Pambo, was also present. 

Malema has a longstanding relationship with the church and has previously attended its services.

Malema and Ramaphosa had a short conversation at the end of the service, hugging despite their political differences. 

While Malema was not given the opportunity to address the congregation, he later thanked Bishop Lekganyane for the service. DM 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • drew barrimore says:

    Of course a pathetic, cringeworthy sight to see these liars and thieves gathering like flies around votes. Time to clear out the temple.

  • Johan Buys says:

    The ZCC has 7-8 million followers. 30x bigger than SACP. 10x bigger than EFF or ANC.

    I’d imagine if you are a ZCC faithful you cannot reconcile that to SACP/ANC/EFF.

    Where are the churches in guiding the flock to you cannot possibly be a true believer and be a member of the following..l

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “Good afternoon Zion congregants, I am here in my own capacity and not as a politician”

    Our bull duster in chief is maintaining his form. I for one am disappointed that gods no longer employ lightning bolts to punish uppity mortals like they used to.

  • Richard Bryant says:

    Just like Donald Trump selling bibles. Jacob Z said the ANC would rule until Jesus comes. Aren’t they all just so pathetic? Their policies and ethics are so non existent they need to lean on any religious group in a hope something might blow in their direction.

    Just look at the mess every time religion gets intertwined with politics. Whether that is Israel, most Arab states, India, USA even the UK sending crusades and missionaries to ‘save’ the work. We had our own mess during apartheid.

    We should not downplay the wisdom of Attaturk in drawing up the secular Turkish constitution and those who drafted the SA constitution based on basic human rights. The politicians should rather take time out and read it!

  • Denise Smit says:

    Not there as a politian but the whole cabinet is with him! How shamefull. And the Bishops biggest which was to be in charge of an army. And our red couple is totally westernised. I thought we should throw the west out of Africa with all the bad values attached to it

    • Mike Wiggill says:

      They are all such liars and snake oil salesmen …. but they keep their motor base uneducated and backward enough to believe the bull, and to “vote as per traditions” and/or “as instructed by their traditional leaders”.

  • Jeff Robinson says:

    How sad that the majority of Africans continue to embrace the myths of ancient middle-eastern nomads, what is arguably the most pernicious legacy of colonization. The almighty was apparently on a coffee break when that busload of devotees from Botswana met their horrific end. And how ironic that our president is now happily getting chummy with Zionists.

    • Michael Thomlinson says:

      Indeed, very ironic that he is now chommies with the Zionists and is not wearing his keffiyeh. Is this not lost on Bishop Joseph Lekganyane? I hope that Muslims contry wide take note.
      I nominate Cyril for the hypocrite of the month award.🙂

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Ramaphosa – you and your hideous party have had 30 years to deliver a better life for all and not just for your elite, cadres and connected. Your platitudes are hollow and vacuous – all hot air whilst the rape and kleptocracy continue unabated in our land with very little accountability and consequence. It is time for you useless, hypocritical and spineless lot to go as you clearly can’t rise above self and party interest. You are an embarrassment and a huge ball & chain around SA’s neck.

  • Eddie Maulson says:

    “All publicity is good publicity.” Supposedly said originally by P T Barnum owner of a famous circus. The rest of the association I leave to your imagination. Also of interest is the question of the bishop’s naval rank. He has to be at least an admiral with all those stripes, amazing epaulettes, and fancy lanyard!!!

  • ak47.king ak47.king says:

    When I first read the heading of this article I thought it said Mordor becomes the gathering point for politicians seeking blessings.
    Technically that probably isn’t that far from the truth…….

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