Statement from the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation

CAPE TOWN: 29 May 2015 – This week, our President laughed at South Africans trying to hold him accountable for the spending of hundreds of millions of Rands of taxpayers’ money on his private homestead/resort in Nkandla. The following day, his Minister of Police announced that the construction of a swimming pool, kraal and chicken coop at Nkandla were viewed as legitimate security features, and the President would not be required to reimburse any money.

“I have been trying to maintain a lower public profile, not only to rest and spend more time with my beloved spouse of nearly 60 years, but also to make space for younger and sharper individuals – of whom there are many – to have their say,” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said.

“However, I think it is incumbent on all South Africans – young and old – to state clearly our acute discomfort, embarrassment and anger at events that have unfolded this week.

“When the South African government denied His Holiness the Dalai Lama a visa to attend the Nobel Laureates Summit in Cape Town last year, I called them a lickspittle bunch. Our police minister’s performance in clearing the President of any responsibility for the Nkandla spending, gave new meaning to the word.

“Instead of setting a good example, our public representatives are humiliating themselves, our country and our people by trying to defend the indefensible. For them to sweep aside of the report of the Public Protector bodes particularly ill for the future of good governance. It is unconscionable to spend hundred of millions of Rands on the President’s spurious “security” needs. The power of the government to manipulate justice comes at great cost to our reputation, our development potential and our hard-won self-belief.”

“I am deeply saddened,” Archbishop Tutu said.


Distributed for the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation by Oryx Media.