The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) on Tuesday denounced the poor ethical leadership of President Jacob Zuma.

Its Justice and Peace Commission said in a statement that “the release of the report by police minister Nathi Nhleko last week‚ and its determination that Zuma is not liable for any non-security upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla‚ has been met with dismay”.

The commission‚ an advocacy body established by the church to fight for social justice and human rights‚ said there “are a lot of legal and constitutional matters that are being contested in relation to the Nkandla affair”.

“Our role is to remind our political leaders of their ethical responsibility‚” said commission chairperson Bishop Gabuza.

“In this role‚ we wish to remind our political leaders that‚ at a time when millions of our people are struggling to make ends meet‚ it is morally unjustifiable for the government to spend excessive amounts of money – R246 million – on one person and on non-security items highlighted by the public protector’s report.”

“We therefore appeal to the president to show ethical leadership and take some responsibility for the runaway expenditure on the Nkandla project.”

Gabuza also said the SACBC commission was concerned about the impact the issue will have on the efforts “to end corruption and achieve moral regeneration”‚ and strongly appealed “to government to make sure the Nkandla saga does not diminish the capacity of the office of the public protector”.