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Cosatu slams Nkandla spending

Cosatu says spending R206 million on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home cannot be justified.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi (R). Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng on Monday spoke out against the spending of R206 million on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home.

The trade union federation also took a tough stance on government using contractors, instead of doing the work itself.

Cosatu's Dumisani Dakile said the Nkandla upgrades must be seen in context of South Africa's journey.

"It clearly indicates that we are miles away from being a developmental state."

He said the amount cannot be justified.

"We don't believe that it is appropriate for such an amount of money to be raised, based on the [financial] crisis that we have."

On Sunday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said there was no evidence that tax money was used to build Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal home.

The minister said the R206 million was used on security upgrades around the property.

Nxesi also maintained the president did not know the exact costs of the upgrade.

POWER HIKES

Cosatu is also threatening protest action over Eskom's electricity hikes.

The power giant has proposed an annual increase of 16 percent for the next three years, which needs to be approved by National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

The union federation added public hearings on the issue were nothing more than a smokescreen.

Cosatu further called on South Africans to prepare themselves for a "long and bitter battle".

Dakile said the masses will rise up against this.

"Cosatu in Gauteng is rejecting the proposed price increase as it will negatively affect the workers. The proposed increases are going to exacerbate the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality in our country."