South African President Zuma could cost taxpayer R500m ($60m) over 5 years

President Jacob Zuma could cost the South African taxpayer more than R500 million over five years, according to analysis based on the ministerial handbook.

“At the very least, President Zuma will cost the South African taxpayer R517.7m over five years — an average of R103.5m per year,” said Gareth van Onselen in a blog published on www.inside-politics.org.

Van Onselen, the Democratic Alliance’s director of political analysis and development, writes the blog in his personal capacity.

He used the ministerial handbook as a guide to calculate the figure.

“It was a very difficult exercise, but using the ministerial handbook as a guide and by being very conservative, I have generated a total figure.”

The total amount included Zuma’s annual salary of R12.3m over five years, medical aid of R6.5m and pension payout of R2.8m.

The cost for Zuma’s spouses was estimated to be R77.59m.

“According to the presidency, the budget for the Presidential Spousal Support Unit was R15,517,500 for the 2009/10 financial year.

The amount allocated to the Spousal Support Unit had increased from R4.5 million in 2004/05 to R8 million in 2007/8, to R15.5 million in 2009/10, under Zuma.

“Significantly, the only way you can get information on the Spousal Unit is through parliamentary questions.

“There is no longer a standalone line item for it in the presidency’s annual report (there used to be) and no dedicated programme of action for it in the presidency’s strategic plan.

“It is money spent with no identifiable outcome attached to it. And for the last two years, its full costs are unknown,” Van Onselen said.

Zuma’s private vehicles were estimated to cost R3.7m over five years, while flights for the VIP Squadron were calculated at R234.2m over the same time period.

The president’s overseas allowance was estimated to be R127,000 for five years. Van Onselen was not able to work out the allowance for the president’s wives.

Zuma’s official residence could cost about R26m for five years, and the taxpayer could fork out about R6.4m for his private residences.

VIP protection was calculated to be R60m for five years.

Van Onselen said he calculated the figures based on Zuma taking office in May 2009 and his term ending in April 2014.

The presidency had not responded to a request for comment by 4pm on Monday. – SAPA