SA Council of Churches blasts Zuma's behaviour in Parliament

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Cape Town, 27 May 2015 - President Jacob Zuma says he won't respond to opposition parties that don't meaningfully contribute to Parliament. Zuma took a swipe at the opposition, saying the only political weapon they have is Nkandla.

CAPE TOWN – President Jacob Zuma’s response to his budget vote debate in Parliament this week was appalling, the SA Council of Churches (SACC) said on Friday.

“Jesting about the scandalous Nkandla issue and investigation during his response to Parliament was an undeniably low point in the Presidency, of which there are becoming too many,” the church council said in a statement.

“Behaving and speaking like a ‘court jester’ was disappointing, embarrassing and inappropriate for the head of state.”

The SACC was responding to Zuma’s conduct in the National Assembly on Wednesday where he mocked opposition parties for taking him on over the use of taxpayers&39; money to upgrade his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko&39;s conclusions that Zuma does not have to pay back a cent of the public funds used on the Nkandla project, had also disappointed the church council, with its president and presiding bishop of the Methodist Church, Zipho Siwa, describing it as a “grave mockery of justice”.

“We are gravely concerned about the failure of the president and the relevant ministers to accept moral and political responsibility in relation to the unjustifiably high costs of the upgrades,” Siwa said in the statement.

“Having ministers defend the indefensible damages the moral integrity of the whole governing system.”

Siwa said the findings highlighted the lack of accountability by those in power.

“The review of the public protector’s report should have been conducted by a competent independent body or arm of government and not by a minister who serves the whim of the office being investigated,” he said.

“It’s a sad day when the office of the public protector, one of the symbols of our very democracy, is reduced to an office of ‘public suggestions’.”