Pastor Mthandeni Ntombela, the senior pastor of the Nazareth Baptist Church, founded by Isaiah Shembe, has lifted the lid on why President Jacob Zuma’s political career is currently in crisis.
Ntombela made the startling revelation on Tuesday while speaking to worshippers at the church. His speech was triggered by Cyril Ramaphosa’s presence, who was at the church to ask for prayer.
Ramaphosa had visited the four million strong church at the eGibisile Home in Empangeni‚ on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast at the invitation of Prophet ‘Unyazilwezulu’ Shembe.
The deputy president, who was accompanied by former KwaZulu-Natal premier and erstwhile ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu had visited the church to ask for prayer for the ANC and the government.
However, events took a different turn when the leader of the church bluntly told Ramaphosa that he’s not the first to have asked for prayers from the church.
Pastor Mthandeni Ntombela said Jacob Zuma had also visited the church and asked for him to emerge South Africa’s president and for his criminal cases to be wiped off.
The leader buttressed that Zuma’s prayers for presidency was answered but that his court battles and political woes escalated because he failed to return to the church and thank God for his victory.
“….President Jacob Zuma also came here and asked to be made president and for his criminal cases to go away. But he had since forgotten to come back to thank the Lord‚ hence his recent woes,” Ntombela said.
Shortly after a brief meeting with the media, the Shembe church pastor reportedly told Ramaphosa to stop beating about the bush about what he wants.
Pastor Mthandeni Ntombela said Ramaphosa would have told inkosi that he came to the church for his presidential bid, adding that if he keeps quiet about it, he might experience what IFP leader passed through.
Unfounded rumours making the rounds within the camp of Ramaphosa’s supporters have it that Senzo Mchunu would be crowned ANC’s next secretary-general if Ramaphosa wins.
Recall that the former premier was axed by the ANC in 2016 after he lost the position of the party chairmanship to Sihle Zikalala in November 2015.
Meanwhile, the Shembe church also invited Ramaphosa to the church on July 4 for another church conference.
The senior pastor of the four million Shembe Nazareth Church, which is a mixture of Zulu tradition and Christianity, told Cyril: “You must come back and ask directly‚ and don’t be shy for whatever you ask in our midst will be granted to you. This because they will wake up tomorrow and give the position to another man or woman.”
In South Africa, churches have become powerful campaign platforms in recent years. This accounts for why most prominent politicians run there for prayers during election camapign.
In the run-up to the ANC national conference in Polokwane in 2007, Zuma attended several church services for prayer and blessings.
In the same year, he was also ordained as an honorary pastor in the Full Gospel Church. In 2009, Zuma visited numerous churches across the country, including the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg during his electoral campaign.
He has also attended the mass gathering of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) at Moria in Limpopo, including the Shembe Nazareth Church in Zuurbekom for prayers.