Taxpayer barometer - where did R66 million go?

Taxpayer barometer - where did R66 million go?
Taxpayer barometer - where did R66 million go?
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

It’s been a torrid week for taxpayers with revelations about how much of their hard-earned cash has been spent defending former president Jacob Zuma.

Even worse was news that millions had been paid to a controversial police crime intelligence boss – to sit at home and do nothing.

In case you missed it‚ here’s a recap.

• Karyn Maughan reported that Zuma had in all likelihood spent far more than R15.3-million fighting his corruption prosecution. Previous answers to parliamentary questions have revealed that the total amount spent on Zuma's so-called Stalingrad campaign was an estimated R32.4-million.

President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in Parliament on Wednesday that Zuma had spent R15.3-million battling the Democratic Alliance's case that the decision not to prosecute him was irrational and should be set aside.

But advocate Ben Winks‚ who has spent more than a year trying to determine just how much Zuma's litigation has cost the state‚ pointed out that answers to parliamentary questions from a series of justice ministers reveal the true extent of Zuma's corruption defence spending.

• The SABC spent R22-million defending its former chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng‚ it was revealed in parliament this week in response to a question by DA MP Thomas Hadebe.

• Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli‚ who is on trial for kidnapping and has weathered numerous allegations of fraud and corruption‚ was on paid leave‚ earning his full salary and bonuses until he was‚ in January‚ relieved of all his duties by “mutual agreement”.

The whole debacle has so far cost taxpayers R12.2-million via the under-resourced South African Police Service budget‚ it was revealed on Thursday.

Combined‚ that amounts to a handsome R66.2 million.

No doubt that cash could have been put to far better use‚ building homes‚ providing basic services or helping impoverished children complete their schooling.

How many people could that much money feed? Using R14 as an average cost of a loaf of brown bread‚ it would buy more than 4.7-million loaves.

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