The salary of top South African politicians holding senior government offices is quite overwhelming, making it one of the best places in the world to be a politician. Our head of state is currently one of the politicians topping the salary scales worldwide. Almost all the time, a new figure appears suggesting that those benefits supplied to President Zuma and other top politicians are deeply costing the taxpayers a great deal, but the actual amount is hard to say. According to reports, the 5% hike in salary for senior Government officials costs South Africa over R143 million a year – Paying very little or no attention to perks. Without consideration for whoever served as the president, the slightest change in cost will certainly have to be borne by public funds. However, Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers’ proposed a sliding-scale salary increase which recommended no increase for salaries already above R1 million. Zuma neglected this, since it is his right, and made it an “across the board” increase. Whether or not the amount is exorbitant is not for me to say even though the taxpayers are ultimately responsible.
In January, when President Jacob Zuma officially agreed to “pay hikes” for top government officials, the then National Assembly speaker, Max Sisulu, got an annual salary of about R2.5-million. While the total figure might not stand in for the exact cost, I believe it definitely does stand in for the absolute minimum cost. More importantly, the overwhelming salary of these politicians is nothing to compare to that of other great countries such as America, France, etc where presidents lead a much bigger population than the South African president. The underlying thing here is whether or not the salary is justifiable. To many, the figures seem too big and reflect a waste so far. The reader, therefore, is left with the obligation of saying whether or not the amount is really exorbitant considering that some of the amounts mentioned below exclude the many expensive perks, including travel expenses, state housing, high-level security, and more enjoyed by these top politicians. The cost of these numerous expensive perks can easily exceed the salary of a minister, as seen by housing upgrades to Nkandla which exceeded Zuma’s annual salary by 9,380%.
According to report which uncovered the actual amount President Zuma costs tax payers in 2012 using the Ministerial Handbook as a guide, President Zuma cost taxpayers the following in 2012:
April 2009 – 1 April 2010: R2 275 802.00 (11 months, R2 086 151.00)
April 2010 – 1 April 2011: R2 367 466.00 (1 year, 5% increase)
April 2011 – 1 April 2012: R2 485 839.00 (1 year, 5%)
1 April 2012 – 1 April 2013: R2 622 561.00 (1 year, 5.5%)
1 April 2013 – 1 April 2014: R2 753 689.00 (1 year, projected 5% increase)
Five Year Total: R12 315 706.00
This estimate was done by making projections into the future using the prevailing benefits of the current president. The analysis shows the trend of increase in the salary of the current president starting from 2009 when he was first inaugurated to 2012 when the research was carried out:
The Balance Sheet Of President Zuma:
Annual Salary: (R2 275 802.00 to R2 753 689.00)
Approximate Five Year Total: R12 315 706.00
Medical Aid: (At least R1 300 000 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R6 500 000.00
Pension Payout on Retirement: (Approximately R2 753 689.00)
Approximate Five Year Total: R2 753 689.00
Spousal Support: (At least R15 517 500.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R77 585 000.00
Private Vehicle: (70% of salary – R1 835 792.00, for two vehicles)
Approximate Five Year Total: R3 671 584.00
Flights – VIP Squadron: (An approximate average of R46 838 476.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R234 192 383.00
Flights – Additional: (R6 331 174.67 plus additional cost of two planes)
Approximate Five Year Total: R10 000 000.00
Flights – VIP Protection Services: (Unknown)
Flights – Helicopters: [At least R14 400 000.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R72 000 000.00
Overseas Allowances – President: (An average of R25 400.00 per year)
Approximate Five year Total: R127 000.00
Overseas Allowances – First Ladies: (Unknown)
Accommodation – Hotels: (An average of R420 000.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R2 100 000.00
Accommodation – Official Residences: (An average of R5 300 000.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R26 500 000.00
Accommodation – Private Residences: (R6 400 000.00)
Approximate Five Year Total: R6 400 000.00
VIP Protection (An average of at least R12 000 000.00 per year)
Approximate Five Year Total: R60 000 000.00
16. Legal Costs: (Unknown)
Five Year approximated Total R514 145 362.00
Annual Average: R102 829 072.00
You could as well break it down by term, year, month, week, hour, even minute as already done below using 2012 in 2012 as it is done below
Five Years: R514 145 362.00
One Year: R102 829 072.00
One Month: R8 569 089.00
One Week: R1 977 482.00
One Day: R282 497.00
One Hour: R11 770.00
One Minute: R196.00
Note that the figures generated for future salaries were done regarding 5.5% increase in the president’s prevailing salary every year as at the date of writing this article.
The South African president currently earns R2,622,561 per year up from R2 485 839.00 and backdated to 1 April 2012. Note also that, the 5% increase in salary of top government officials was recommended by Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers’. Although, the commission recommended a sliding-scale salary increase which recommended no increase for salaries already above R1 million. This recommendation was neglected by the current president as he is not bound to follow the commission’s recommendations.
The deputy president gets R2,478,378 per year.
Every minister gets paid R2,106,607 per annum.
while deputy ministers earn R1,734,835.
South Africa’s new cabinet salary bill is expected to be around R143,000,000. This number excludes all ministerial expenses, which may well run into hundreds of millions of rands more.
South African Mayors reached the million mark after Zuma approved the salary increases suggested by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.
Councillors in City of Johannesburg receives R28 000 annual increase, hiking their yearly salary to R458 000, as was announced that Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli had approved over R122 million in salary hikes for the city’s 230 councillors, 17 committee chairpersons, 10 mayoral committee members as well as the city council’s Chief Whip and Speaker.
Committee chairpersons get an R39 000 hike, elevating their annual salaries to just under R825 000.
The big question is, is it fair enough considering the wage gap between an average South African and the politicians? According to records, the least paid South African politician is the local Councillor whose pay increase for the Johannesburg variety is only a little less than a worker’s median yearly wage. More so, the median salary of those South Africans lucky enough to have a job is at R2800 every month or R33 600 per year. Unexpectedly, the monthly allowance for cell phone paid to metro mayors is R500 above what an average South African worker receives monthly. A record has it that Minister Tsenoli approved increased monthly cell phone allowances for South Africa’s over 10 000 local politicians of up to R3 300 for metro mayors and R1 650 for councilors.
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