EFF leader Julius Malema was one of many taken aback by presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko’s plea to pray for the US, after violence in that country overnight.
According to SurgeZirc France, protesters supporting President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, putting it on lockdown. Law enforcement authorities struggled to maintain order as an angry mob overturned barricades and clashed with police. One woman died after being shot during the violence.
Inside, lawmakers met to formally certify Biden’s victory over Trump in last year’s presidential election, a result that has been disputed by Trump and his supporters. Proceedings were halted after protesters gained entry to the building.
Like many in SA, Diko watched the drama unfold and took to Twitter to share her reaction. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson posted a picture simply stating “Pray for America”.
Soon the phrase was trending on Twitter as hundreds slammed her for focusing on the US while SA has “its own problems”. She later suggested that her comment was sarcasm.
Malema was among those surprised by her request, questioning it and sharing a tweet by author Zakes Mda saying he’d rather “pray for SA to recover all the corruption money from PPE grifters and sundry ruling elite crooks”.
He banna, wena?
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) January 6, 2021
I’d rather pray for SA to recover all the corruption money from PPE grifters and sundry ruling elite crooks https://t.co/0JRxN0AyTA
— Zakes Mda (@ZakesMda) January 6, 2021
Diko took a leave of absence in July last year, pending an investigation into allegations that her husband “scored” a R125m personal protective equipment tender. She denied wrongdoing by herself or her husband.
One SA movement leader Mmusi Maimane said that Diko’s prayer would be incomplete without “praying for PPE funds to be returned as well”.
You are right that we must pray for a peaceful transition in the most important democracy on earth.
The prayer list is incomplete though, I will be praying for PPE funds to be returned as well.
I will be praying for competent leaders who can get South Africans a vaccine asap.
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) January 6, 2021