The Democratic Alliance can today, for the first time, reveal how the government has spent nearly R60 million since 2016 on the lifestyles of former presidents, former deputy presidents, and their spouses. Following a request under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the DA has obtained a copy of the “Policy on the Benefits of Executive Office,” a document published in March 2009 which outlines how the state maintains the millionaire lifestyles of former presidents, deputy presidents and their families for their entire lives.
The document was shrouded in secrecy and hidden from public scrutiny for the last decade, and it is high time that South Africans found out the truth of how their taxes are used. Under the policy, taxpayers foot the bill of the lifestyles of six former presidents, deputies, and their families: FW de Klerk and spouse, Thabo Mbeki and spouse, Kgalema Motlanthe and spouse, Jacob Zuma and spouses, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and spouse, and Beleka Mbete and spouse.
The ANC showers largesse on the likes of Jacob Zuma in almost all conceivable forms, including free home upgrades, free security, free motor vehicles, unlimited free first class and business class flights, free healthcare, as well as free office space of up to 200 square meters that comes fully furnished and includes interior decoration, cleaning services, and crockery and cutlery. South Africans even pay for their internet connections, mobile phones, fax machines, computers, printers and photocopiers. In addition, taxpayer money is also used to employ a staff contingent of six people: a personal assistant, two executive assistants, one driver, and two professional assistants.
Taking care of each of these former politicians each year costs South Africans the equivalent of a small businesses’ annual turnover. We spend about R3.5 million per year on each former president, and close to R2 million per year on each former deputy. Together, this has added up to just under R60 million since 2016. This is all on top of the generous pension benefits and the R3 million annual salary each former president continues to receive for the rest of their lives.
While Zuma sits down to dinner tonight with the golden crockery and cutlery bought for him on the back of hardworking taxpayers, ten million South Africans will go to bed unemployed and desperate. A government that truly cares about fixing South Africa’s economic implosion would immediately cut the wastage of this policy and the ministerial handbook and similarly cut the public sector wage bill. Instead of splurging countless millions on current and former ANC cadres, we need to redirect spending to create a capable public service and an economy that create opportunities for South African citizens to prosper.
Dr Leon Schreiber MP
DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration
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