President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the founder and senior pastor of the Rhema Bible Church, Ray McCauley, as someone who stood firm against apartheid rule.
The President said the church played a significant role by rejecting the then Group Areas Act by allowing different races to attend their services.
“Since January 1971 you have been a constant and reassuring presence, taking a very strong stand against apartheid and all forms of injustice,” Ramaphosa said.
He was speaking during the 40th anniversary of the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg on Wednesday night.
“We thank you for the stance you took Pastor Ray to oppose apartheid…from the Group Areas Act, you were one church that stood firm in opposing many apartheid laws but especially the Group Areas Act,” he said.
“You fought for freedom. You were not afraid to take the side of the oppressed. You became a target for harassment yourself…you were seen as the enemy of the state. I’m rather glad you were the enemy of the state inthose days because you are the friend of the state now,” said the president.
McCauley, who was also turning 70 on Wednesday, was one of the observers of the first democratic, non-racial election in 1994 and participated at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was also leader of the National Interfaith Leadership Council that was established by former president Jacob Zuma when he led the country.