ANC passes Zuma pension benefits despite objections from parties

Former president Jacob Zuma
Former president Jacob Zuma
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

The ANC in Parliament has used its majority to push through a resolution to pay full retirement benefits to former president Jacob Zuma.

The retirement benefits for Zuma include an annual salary of R2.9-million which he was earning at the time of his retirement as well as medical aid for life.

The house debated the motion sponsored by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu following a recommendation last month from the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

But all the opposition parties that spoke during the debate - the DA‚ EFF‚ COPE and the FF Plus - roundly rejected the motion‚ with the IFP coming out in favour of it.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen led the charge against the payment of post-retirement benefits to Zuma‚ saying he did not deserve his pension benefits given how he had presided over the country between 2009 and February this year.

"Haven't we paid enough for Mr Zuma already? The 10 million people who've been pushed to unemployment because of his disastrous policies have paid enough.

"This is a constitutional delinquent who's compromised the integrity of this parliament‚ the office of president and compromised the Constitution.

"Haven't we paid enough? We've built a retirement village for Mr Zuma in Nkandla‚" said Steenhuissen.

Sam Matiase‚ of the EFF‚ echoed the same sentiment.

"We cannot stand here and condone that the man who stole so much from the public be honoured and be decorated in the manner in which the ANC wants. The EFF rejects this motion and ask that Mr Zuma must not be treated as former head of state worthy of our respect."

But the IFP's Narend Singh broke ranks with his colleagues on the opposition benches.

"We must separate processes‚ the process of receiving a pension is right. You have a family why should they be denied receiving a pension because of what President Zuma did or did not do? "If former President Zuma is found guilty by a commission of inquiry or a court of law‚ and he's required to pay back the money‚ then he must pay. But saying he must be denied a pension at this point in time without due process being followed is not the right thing to do‚" Singh said.

Senior ANC MP Thoko Didiza said there was no legal basis to deprive the former president of his retirement benefits because he did not exit office in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

"Some of you are saying this president is this and that...but he was not impeached‚ there was no process of impeachment that determined what due or not due he must get. He was neither fired by this parliament nor impeached‚" she said.

In the end‚ the majority party had its way‚ defeating the opposition by 107 votes to 97.

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