Religous leaders condemn Nkandla costs

Religious leaders have condemned the amount of state money being spent on the president’s residence.

President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead. Picture: City Press.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of religious leaders in the country on Thursday told Eyewitness News they condemned the amount of state money being spent on President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla residence in KwaZulu-Natal, saying it was immoral.

The leaders are also calling on government to explain just how much had been spent on the project.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has refused to say how much the revamp was costing after the City Press newspaper reported that the upgrade would cost government R203 million.

The paper said Zuma would only be footing the bill for five percent of his renovations, which will include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, as well as playgrounds and a centre for visitors.

Methodist Church bishop Paul Verryn said spending over R200 million was wrong.

While the Council for Muslim Theologians' Ebrahim Bham was also unhappy.

"The amount of money being spent by the president for his private residence does seem, on the face of it, improper and extravagant."

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein wants government to come clean.

Yesterday, Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the president should, for the sake of taxpayers, clarify the claims being made.

Both the Presidency and the Public Works Ministry have declined to comment on the issue.