Monday, March 16, 2009

Zuma, Pastor Ray and the judge

The week started fast. Today. First assignment to come my way: update the story on Jacob Zuma's visit to Rhema church. A challenge indeed. Trying to get hold of anyone from SA's rich and glitzy church before 7am on a Monday morning is mission impossible.
So yesterday our ANC president and first citizen in waiting, one Jacob "Bring me my machine gun" Zuma, took over the pulpit at Rhema and spoke for 20 minutes. Now, on the eve of our national elections. Not surprisingly, the visit went down like a bit of a lead balloon among some of the churchgoers who objected to their house of worship being used as a ploy to pull votes and so they stormed out. They were mad, and they wanted to say so.
It therefore became my task to get the latest on this unfolding storm and write it up for the lunchtime paper. I located a number for the church's spokesperson, but he was not answering. I was stumped.
So I went to the Rhema website. And there hope appeared in the form of a hotline number for pastoral care, available 24 hours a day for distressed people. And I was surely becoming distressed. Yay! So I called it. Hope faded when I realised the phone had been picked up by a cleaner. She said nobody else was there. I asked her for any available contact numbers for anybody who could speak on behalf of the church, even the spokesperson for heaven's sake! No can do - she only had him listed on speed dial and this was not revealing any information.
Just when I figured failure was about to befall me, I heard the voice of Pastor Ray McCauley chatting out on the radio. Woo hoo! The local talk radio show host had managed to track him down and was about to interrogate him on air. He described the man of God as an ex-body builder who had not skipped many meals.
I was ordered to listen and transcribe the interview - which I did and it was brilliant! Something along the lines of:
Show host: "So why would you allow Zuma to use your church for a bit of electioneering".
Pastor Ray: "Nooo. He just came to pray with us for the government and crime and soccer. And a peaceful election."
S H: "But this man is a polygamist. His behaviour does not fall in line with your church's teachings. The man is up on fraud charges. Why would you want him to preach to your flock?"
P Ray: "Erm ... we are able to change people. I prayed with him. I had a good time with him."
S H: "But dozens of people walked out of the service."
P Ray: "I didn't see them."
S H: "And now people are telling us that they have written to you and you are ignoring them."
P Ray: "Puhleez! I preached four times yesterday. When have I had time to answer letters? Anyway, we have 20 000 happy members. How many letters are you talking about?"
S H: "So will Helen Zille from the DA now be welcome to come and speak at your church?"
P Ray: "Erm ... why? What would she want to do that for? Actually we don't turn anyone away."
It was quite something!
Church story done, I headed off to court ready for the promised drama as the trial of the tea-drinking Judge resumed. His team was going to get the case thrown out of court.
The press gallery was packed to capacity. Fabulous Shoes - bronze peep-toe wedges, and her cohorts had annexed the best seats as they had arrived early.
We waited. For. Almost. Two. Whole. Hours.
EnthusiasticTV Journo played us her new ring tone which she reckons no whitie has ever downloaded. I am contemplating getting it simply to prove her wrong. "Blame it on the Alcohol" by Jamie Foxx and T Pain, apparently.
Then the legal beagles all filed in. It started. And like that it was all over. The judge's lawyers withdrew and YET AGAIN the case was postponed!


  1. I can't get over McCauley. Does the ANC have something on him- like maybe the "loans" to Niehaus that he let such a wanker actually speak DURING a service!!?!???

  2. That is seriously wrong. I'm surprised that more churchgoers didn't leave. The rest must be totally brainwashed into accepting anything that the pastor does. I would reconsider attending a church that allowed political grandstanding from the pulpit. The ringtone was very appropriate for the courtcase you were attending. I do feel for you having to attend court so many times.

  3. Cool blog? You on Twitter? Link it to your blog on the right here, would like to see when new posts come up. Don't use RSS, so Twitter would be cool if you're on there.

  4. Huzzit Monte! Thanks for that. I am working on linking with Twitter. Glad you think my blog is cool. - :)

  5. S H: "But dozens of people walked out of the service."
    P Ray: "I didn't see them."

    Isn't that delightful! - NOT.