May 06 2008 at 07:17AM
By Wendy Jasson da Costa
ANC President Jacob Zuma has earned the wrath of the DA and ACDP and offended a cardinal for claiming that his party enjoyed the full support of God.
Previously slated for claiming the ANC would rule "until Jesus comes back", Zuma went even further this weekend, saying that God expected the ANC to rule and that the party had God's blessing.
Speaking about the divisions in the ANC in the Western Cape, Zuma told people in Khayelitsha: "We shall build this organisation. We are not going to fail.
"Even God expects us to rule this country, because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in heaven.
"That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back. We should not allow anyone to govern our city (Cape Town) when we are ruling the country."
DA CEO Ryan Coetzee was first to react, saying Zuma "consciously and repeatedly" invoked God to justify eternal ANC rule, and to demonise political opponents.
Ironically, it is the prospect of losing the province to a DA-led coalition which prompted Zuma's remarks.
"As tempting as it is to dismiss this kind of statement as eccentric or amusing, it is actually very dangerous, because to oppose a government backed by God is to oppose God; to oppose governments that rule by divine right is to be a traitor; to attempt to dislodge them, even through the ballot box, is a declaration of war. In short, opposition to the ANC is rendered utterly illegitimate," Coetzee said on Monday.
He was not the only one fuming at Zuma's apparent "God complex".
ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe said Zuma's remarks were "blasphemous", and called on him to apologise.
"The unity he is calling for in the ANC will not materialise. It's a sign of God's displeasure (because) of their rebellion and the immorality they are promoting in the country."
Referring to the legalisation of abortion and same-sex marriages, Meshoe said Zuma was effectively saying that God "blesses" the killing of innocent babies and homosexual relations. He said the ANC would sink like the Titanic.
It was also following the route of "Zanu-PF, which had lost Zimbabwe's recent elections after they thought they would rule forever".
Durban-based Cardinal Wilfred Napier, of the Roman Catholic Church, said on Monday: "I am offended that people use God in a way that has nothing to do with religion."
Napier said he had reminded Zuma of The Beatles - who caused much controversy when they announced they were "more popular than Jesus Christ" - when he had first passed such remarks.
He said people felt offended that the Beatles had trivialised religion and the value they placed on it.