An "interfaith campaign" against crime to be led by former President Jacob Zuma has been criticised as self-serving and hypocritical.
On Tuesday, an group of religious leaders led by the National Interfaith Council of SA (Nicsa) reportedly said Zuma had been selected to lead a prayer campaign "against crime as an enemy of the economy" and help to improve race relations between black and Indian people in KwaZulu-Natal, according to News24.
The campaign will reportedly involve leaders from a variety of religions including Rastafari, Hindi, Shembe and Khoisan. It is expected to start on July 7 in communities in Chatsworth, Isipingo, Umlazi and Wentworth in KwaZulu-Natal. The following week the tour will move to other areas in the province.
News24 reported that on a poster distributed in the province, Nicsa has called for a "road show for nation building prayer against crime and crime as an enemy of the economy".
Nicsa provincial secretary Bishop Timothy Ngcobo told News24 that Zuma "knows the background of Indians, coloureds and black people".
"We need that history because we see now that the Indian community is like an island now."
Secretary of National Interfaith Council of South Africa in #KZN Bishop Timothy Ngcobo invited President Jacob Zuma to lead a prayer campaign against crime. Ngcobo says they chose Zuma because of his ability to mobilise and unite people of all races— POWER987News (@POWER987News) June 28, 2018
But the move was criticised by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
Only in SA. In the same week a convicted fraudster gets appointed to fight (or perhaps lead?) corruption in the ruling party, #Zuma leads a prayer meeting against "crime as an enemy of economy". pic.twitter.com/vFJaYm5TK7— OUTA (@OUTASA) June 27, 2018
Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage told IOL, "We have no problem that Zuma has his followers and that people have their views about him but it is interesting that someone who is involved in such wrongdoing is given civil society platforms.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo told IOL that the campaign did not seem sincere.
"Once you start an initiative and centre it around one person, it is no longer for the community and becomes about that person. I don't think these guys are genuine in addressing racial issues as they seem to have a specific agenda," he said.