Zuma’s Salary Compared With That Of Other World Leaders


With the most recent approval of the increase of the salaries of public office bearers, President Jacob Zuma’s salary has skyrocketed to over R2.7 million annually. The recommendation on the salaries was made by The Independent Commission For the Remuneration of public office bearers

Public office bearers earning more than R1m would receive a five percent increase and officer bearers earning less than R1m would receive a six percent increase from April 1, 2014. This meant that Zuma would receive about R100,000 in back payments as his salary increased from R2.62m to R2.75m. This recent hike makes Zuma one of the highest paid politicians in the world.

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Also, from the statistics of Trading Economics, considering the fact that the average wage received in the country by public workers is around R14,900 per month, it would mean that Zuma’s salary is almost 15 times greater than that of the public worker’s annual gross and 110 times greater than minimum wage rates even with its upwards adjustment of last year

However, Zuma’s salary could still not be compared to that of other world leaders because it seems they receive far greater salaries than he does. Fro instance, the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong takes home the hefty sum of R20.8 million. His salary is more than 40 times that of any average Singaporean. Prime Minister Lee is known to be the highest paid politician in the entire world and the remaining highly paid politicians don’t even come close to what he earns. The only other person who even though he is the next highest paid but still does not come close is CY  Leung, The Chief Executive of Hong Kong and therefore the head of the government of Hong Kong. Leung comes in at R6.7 million. His annual salary is 12 times the salary of an average citizen of Hong Kong.

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With the above salary, Leung earns nearly 27 times the salary of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who earns $19,000 per annum. So even though it seems like Zuma’s salary is high but then we see that it does not come close to that of other world leaders who seem to take home a lot more. However, the question does not seem to end at how much these leaders earn but rather, it goes further to ask ‘How developed are the economies of those countries? what are their foreign reserves like and how is the living conditions of the citizens of such countries who it seems can afford to pay their leaders such enormous amounts? In light of the above questions, is Zuma’s salary high, low or just okay?

Now, let’s take a look at the salaries of the highest paid politicians and compare. Note that these figures do not include the benefits that such leaders enjoy or which might be given to them separate from their basic salaries.

Leader Country Salary
Lee Hsien Loong Singapore R20.8 million
Leung Chun-ying Hong Kong R6.7 million
Barack Obama United States R5.8 million
Tony Abbott Australia R4.5 million
Angela Merkel Germany R3.4 million
Stephen Harper Canada R3.4 million
Shinzo Abe Japan R3.2 million
Jacob Zuma South Africa R2.7 million
Francois Hollande France R2.7 million
David Cameron UK R2.5 million


In the above table, Jacob Zuma comes in a lot lower than some world leaders. Besides, the remuneration commission also recommended increases for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Speaker of National Parliament, Baleka Mbete, and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. So Zuma is definitely not reaping alone.

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