Zuma to hit taxpayers with R517m upkeep bill
PRESIDENTIAL PERKS: Zuma's expense account is almost 40 times his annual salary. But he is not as expensive as Obama
President Jacob Zuma is, not surprisingly, the highest- paid official in the government, costing taxpayers R200 a minute.
According to a report, the cost of protecting and transporting Zuma, in addition to paying his salary, perks and various household expenses, will add up to R517-million once his five-year term as South Africa's president is complete.
The cost of Zuma to the country was revealed in a report by senior DA analyst Gareth van Onselen.
Van Onselen used the Ministerial Handbook and other sources to arrive at his estimates.
Though Zuma's salary is known, many of his other costs have not been confirmed.
Van Onselen said he erred on the side of caution before arriving at the figure of over R103-million a year for Zuma's upkeep.
"Most likely, the final and ultimately unknowable total will be far, far higher," he said, adding that his estimates do not include the cost of poor decisions or action perpetually delayed.
Zuma is, in a sense, not as expensive as US president Barack Obama, who is estimated to cost his taxpayers about $1.5-billion (about R12.5-billion) a year.
However, that figure for Obama includes White House operation costs and a massive staff necessary for official business.
"Essentially I have focused on the president's running costs," said Van Onselen, noting that he did not include the official costs of The Presidency.
Russia's president ( Dmitri Medvedev at the time of the research) cost $258-million and France's president (then Nicolas Sarkozy) $161-million, according to the Korrespondent, a Ukrainian magazine, last year.
Though these price tags are higher than Zuma's, they include far more than just living costs.
And, given the global financial crisis, there are indications that many of Zuma's counterparts have started cutting back.
The president of France, Francois Hollande, has lowered his salary by 30%.
According to the website www.therichest.org, Zuma was the 11th best-paid head of state last year. His French counterpart was number five.
"Zuma's flights and the Spousal Support Unit are both excessive and difficult to justify," said Van Onselen. "David Cameron flies British Airways.
"President Zuma can also use a national carrier, if not for all flights, then for the majority. It is reasonable for the public to support a first lady [but] unreasonable to support more than one."
Zuma's expense account is almost 40 times his annual salary.
PUBLIC SERVICE NOT GIVING US BANG FOR OUR BUCK EITHER:
A separate report revealed yesterday that public sector employees are only about a fifth as productive as those in the private sector.
But, according to Prophet Analytics' quarterly Labour Market Navigator, even the private sector performs badly by international standards, with only 65 JSE-listed companies achieving labour productivity that exceeds employee costs.
ZUMA'S ANNUAL BALANCE SHEET:
■Annual Salary: R2,275,802 to R2,753,689
■Medical aid: At least R1.3-million
■Pension payout on retirement: About R2,753,689
■Spousal support: At least R15,517,500 a year
■Private vehicle: calculated at 70% of salary - R1,835,792, for two vehicles
■Flights - VIP Squadron: An approximate average of: R46,838,476
■Flights - additional: R6,331,175 plus additional cost of two planes
■Flights - VIP Protection Services: Unknown
■Flights - helicopters: At least R14.4-million
■Overseas allowances - president: An average of R25,400 a year
■Overseas allowances - first ladies: Unknown
■Accommodation - hotels: An average of R420,000 a year
■Accommodation - official Residences: An average of R5.3-million a year
■Accommodation - private residences: R6.4-million
■VIP protection - An average of at least R12-million a year
■Legal costs: Unknown
■Average annual total: R103,544,233
■Approximate five-year total: R517,721,164
R200 A MINUTE ADDS UP:
Five years R517,721,164
One year R103,554,233
One month R8,626,686
One week R1,991,235
One day R284,462
One hour R11,852
One minute R198