Zuma tells religious leaders to stay away from politics

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President Jacob Zuma speaks at the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, November 18, 2016.

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma took a swipe at religious leaders on Sunday, telling them not to get involved in politics.

Addressing the Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ thanksgiving event at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Zuma said: “It doesn't sit well with us when we see church leaders involving themselves in politics and creating problems, instead of bringing people together. What we’re really asking from church leaders is that they pray for us”.

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Religious leaders who have criticised Zuma include Rhema Bible Church leader Ray McCauley.

"Personally, I can say I’m disappointed in what has been taking place in the leadership of our nation," McCauley said last month. "Our country is facing a leadership crisis, we need strong leadership to take the country forward. We need leaders who will put the people first. We need leaders who serve our people and leaders who will unite rather than divide our nation."

Several church leaders have joined the call for the president to step down.

Zuma appealed to religious leaders to seek solutions for a troubled nation.      

He encouraged politicians to practise tolerance.

“As believers and as the people of South Africa, let us stop the fighting among politicians and other sectors of society. There must be unity and we must build the nation with love”.