The disgraced man of the cloth, Methodist Church of Southern Africa Reverend Vukile Mehana, has been barred from officiating at the ANC’s celebrations on Tuesday as the ruling party’s Chaplain General following his degrading utterances about women in the church.
The party yesterday said it had been assured by the SA Council of Churches (SACC) that Mehana would not officiate at the festivities scheduled for next week in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Zizi Kodwa, ANC acting spokesperson, said the party was disappointed by the utterances.
In the recording largely in isiXhosa, Mehana can be heard telling a friend, Raymond Sibanga, in a telephone conversation that men ordained by women priests were not man enough and that they must be re-ordained.
He further says women could not be touching men’s chests or men touching women’s chests, referring to one female priest’s “amabele amakhulu (large breasts)”.
The SACC yesterday reacted with disgust and revulsion at the recording, with the council’s general secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, saying they took an unusual position of condemning the deplorable utterances by Mehana.
“For him to disparage women ministers to the extent of referencing women’s breasts, is absolutely disgusting and must be condemned unequivocally!…In addition, (Mehana’s) views are in contrast to the human rights prescripts of the South African Constitution that should be binding on all citizens,” the bishop said.
In a public apology, which the church said Mehana posted on social media, the churchman confirmed making the utterances and admitted that his utterances were derogatory and demeaning to all women in ministry.
“In retrospect, the comments I made are derogatory and demeaning to all women in ministry. I regret making such utterances and respectfully retract them. To this end, I humbly apologise to Rev Nompithizelo Sibhidla, who was disparagingly mentioned in the conversation and I am deeply sorry that her good name has been sullied undeservedly,” he wrote.
He further apologised to all the women ministers in the church and the Methodists congregation, saying with hindsight, he fully appreciated the damaging effects of his “careless utterances as well as the use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects my colleagues and friends in the Church”.
Mehana said he “humbly and remorsefully request that you find it right in your heart to forgive me”.