Church leaders have called for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma after a constitutional court ordered him to partly repay £12m he took from public coffers to refurbish his country house.
“In any normal democracy the state president would go before the nation tonight and announce his resignation,” Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, general secretary, of the 36-member South African Council of Churches (SACC) said after the ruling on 31 March. “But then we are not a normal democracy,” Mpumlwana added.
Work on Zuma’s home in KwaZulu Natal, Nkandla, was estimated to cost £3m (65 million rand) in 2009, but ballooned to £12 million (R246 million) by 2014.
The Constitutional Court led by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng unanimously ruled that Zuma failed to uphold the supreme law of the land and that his conduct was inconsistent with the constitution.
“I am proud of our justice system, the division of powers of government are still intact,” the spokesperson of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC), Archbishop William Slattery told The Tablet on 1 April.
Russell Pollitt, director of Jesuits Institute South Africa said: “I am not sure how he can and will ever recover from this judgement,” he said adding that Zuma was now, more than ever, a morally compromised and failed president.