In keeping with his pledge, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa donated large speakers to the Nazareth Baptist Church and promised to construct a 1 000-seat facility.
Ramaphosa made a special visit to the Shembe church, which has its headquarters in Ebuhleni, Inanda, which is situated north of Durban.
The event marked the end of the church’s yearly January pilgrimage to the holy Khenani Mountain in Ndwedwe.
Following his previous meeting with church leader Mduduzi Shembe, also known as Unyazi lweZulu, Ramaphosa informed the congregation that he had come to deliver a report.
“You will recall that I was here during the July ceremony,” said Ramaphosa.
“In our conversation with Inkosi Yamakhosi [the King of Kings Shembe], he appealed for quality loud speakers as some of the worshippers struggle to hear properly because they can’t get closer to the temple because the space is congested.
“I am glad to announce that we bought the speakers, and everyone can easily get the message.”
Promise to build houses
His announcement that the government would also be building a structure that could house 10 000 people drew wild applause. The building will also have restroom facilities.
“Both females and males will be housed separately in this building since the numbers of congregants keep soaring.
“Mdumiseni Ntuli, one of our leaders in the province, is the one who will be coordinating that project. He will work with amakhosi [chiefs], pastors, and evangelists.
“They will foresee that this project is successful. We will build houses here — about 1 000 houses with ablution facilities.”
In 2017, before the ANC’s elective conference, Ramaphosa paid a visit to the church to ask for blessings.
During his visit at the weekend, he pleaded with the congregation to pray for peace ahead of the elections, which are expected to be held before June.
Campaigning for votes
Muzikawuthethi Mlungwana, one of the worshippers, saw Ramaphosa’s promise to construct homes as an attempt to win over more supporters ahead of the elections.
He claimed that members of the congregation had been sleeping in makeshift tents for many years and that no politician had ever offered to assist.
“These politicians are opportunists and can’t be trusted,” said Mlungwana.
“Well, at least Ramaphosa came back with the speakers he had promised, but I am keen to see if this housing project will take off.
“Not so long ago, we had former president Jacob Zuma also visiting us, but we all know that he was here to solicit votes and blessings because the elections are around the corner.”