Here’s what Jacob Zuma still costs the taxpayer

South Africa News

Eight months on from his resignation as president, it’s still very hard to avoid the looming spectre of Jacob Zuma. The former leader has been in and out of court numerous times since he left office, and he’s even alleged to have tried to overthrow current President Cyril Ramaphosa.

That’s the key to retirement, we guess: You have to keep busy. Zuma has had no problems with that, and he’s been doing most of it at the taxpayer’s expense. He still milks the state for millions of rand per year, and there’s not really much we can do about it. Oh, the joy.

So we’re taking a look at what exactly Jacob can sponge off of the state in years after politics. We have to say, it’s good work if you can get it (and then, retire from it).

What Jacob Zuma still costs the taxpayer:

Presidential pension

Just to rub salt in the wounds, Jacob Zuma’s total annual pension was increased up to R2.98 million in September, to match the amount he earned in a nine-year stint as president. He gets that every year, for the rest of his life.

A complimentary vehicle

Former Presidential Spokesperson for FW de Klerk, Dave Steward, told TimesLive that a former leader is allowed one “vehicle for life” at the taxpayer’s expense. The Minister’s Handbook says these cars can be replaced when they have travelled 120 000km or served five years. The allowance for this motor is a whopping R1.8 million.

SAA flights for free

Steward also told the publication that one of the presidential perks – even when one has left office – is free air travel anywhere within South Africa, flying with South African Airways. No wonder the ANC is always so desperate to keep the failing SOE alive. It’s suggested Jacob Zuma could rack up a six-figure bill per annum.

VIP protection

As we saw back in July, Zuma is still making full use of the Presidential Protection Unit in his retirement, arriving for his son’s culpable homicide trial in a cavalcade of BMW’s.

The elite unit consists of 1‚382 protection officers, which cost taxpayers R693 million in the last financial year. It works out at R500 000 a year per bodyguard. Zuma arrived at court with at least three separate members of the team, so we can estimate that R1.5 million of public money is being spent on his protection.

Medical aid

CityPress report that Jacob Zuma will also get his medical aid paid for by the state. As Inside Politics report, Msholozi won’t just be settling for a second-rate package. They believe he gets R1.3 million a year to ensure he stays in good health.

Other payments Zuma has squeezed from the state:

Legal fees

The North Gauteng High Court has reserved judgment in the DA’s application to stop the state from paying former president Jacob Zuma’s legal fees. So we are still left hanging to see whether JZ will have to pay back all the public money he has used over the years to defend himself in court.

If you believe the DA and ANC, that figure stands at about R17 million. The EFF filed their own papers though, accusing Zuma of squandering R32 million of state funds. It’s perhaps best to stick with the former, as the red berets actually had that figure at R25 million during Tuesday’s proceedings.

What do we pay for Jacob Zuma’s Wives?

When Zuma was in office, the spousal allowance for his five partners totalled R15.5 million annually, according to the 2009/10 financial figures. However, it has not been established whether this rolls over into retirement. We guess his wives will just have to make do with all their other luxuries.

What does that total?

These conservative estimates mean he gets about R6 million a year from ordinary South Africans. That’s the figure he is expected to receive until the end of his days.

Taxpayers have already spent between R1.7 to R3.2 million each year on his legal fees over the last decade, and around R1.5 million a year on spousal support.

All facts, figures and sources are taken from The Presidential Handbook, The Ministerial Handbook, Inside Politics, TimesLive and CityPress.

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