Both President Jacob Zuma and the ministers involved in expensive upgrades to the President’s private home are ethically and morally responsible for what has gone wrong in the Nkandla project and should therefore be held accountable, says the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of South Africa in a press statement released today.
In another development today Parliament disclosed that an ad hoc committee has been formed to consider the submissions made by Zuma in response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report which was released on March 19. Zuma said last week that he will give full and proper consideration to the matter only once he receives a report from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
Today’s AFM statement says: “The Nkandla Report goes to the heart of the ethical and moral responsibility of those entrusted with administrating public funds, the care for the most vulnerable in society and the alleviation of poverty.
“The fact that such a large amount of money was spent on one person while so many do not have enough to make ends meet is a matter of extreme concern. While the state has a responsibility to secure the President, the cost for the security upgrades and the overspending is not morally justifiable nor are the reasons ethically tenable.
“The fact that the Ministers who were tasked to oversee the project did not raise their concerns about the costs for the security essentials and the non-security expenditure such as the cattle kraal, swimming pool, fowl-run and amphitheatre is also morally and ethically unjustifiable.
“Even though the Public Protector did not accuse the President of corruption, he cannot be morally exonerated, because he should have known about the enormous expenditure including the non-security items mentioned. Both the President and the Ministers involved in the upgrades are ethically and morally responsible for what has gone wrong in the Nkandla project and should therefore be held accountable.”
The AFM statement also distances the church from a group of clergy who reportedly went to cast out demons at the office of Thuli Madonsela in a bid to defend the SABC’s acting Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
” The attacks [by the clergy group] against the Public Protector are deeply regretted. We want to call on our members to be actively involved in the fight against corruption and to pray for the spiritual and moral regeneration of South Africa.
“We also urge all South Africans to pursue the common interest of all citizen, and in particular the interest of the poor, marginalised, downtrodden and most vulnerable in society,” concludes the statement.
The Roman Catholic Church in SA (RCC) and SA Council of Churches have also recently released statements on Nkandla. The RCC last week (April 3) slammed Zuma’s lack of a prompt response to the Public Protector’s report, saying the delay undermines both the Public Protector’s office and Parliament. It says the president’s decision to wait for the Special Investigating Unit to complete its investigation before explaining himself is “unacceptable”. It says Zuma must “tell the nation now, not in June, how and when he plans to pay back the costs of items such as the swimming pool, the chicken run and others that have nothing to do with security.”
In a statement released on March 25 the SA Council of Churches (SACC) says it welcomes news that “the presidency is giving the report serious study and consideration before they respond. We pray that such a response will be in the best interests of the nation and our democracy”.
The SACC statement says: “For the future of the nation and the sustainability of our fledgling democracy, we urge those implicated in the report to consider stepping down.