The point of the exercise to try and derive a credible and defensible total figure for all primary direct expenses afforded to President Jacob Zuma by the Ministerial Handbook and for which the public – the taxpayer – is ultimately responsible. This is not an exact science. In every instance, I have been extremely conservative and thus, while the total figure might not represent the actual cost, I believe it certainly does represent the absolute minimum cost. Most likely, the final and ultimately unknowable total will be far, far higher.

It is not my purpose to analyse the cost or to give an opinion as to whether or not the amount can be described as exorbitant. I am merely setting out the facts. Regardless of whom served as President, a variation of the costs listed in this document would have to be born by the public purse. Likewise, one would have to take the opportunity costs into account and inflation. Whether or not the bridge between reasonableness and opulence has been crossed, I leave to you, the reader, to determine.

The document that follows is essentially divided into three sections. First, a summary. I have called this ‘The Zuma Balance Sheet’ and it follows below these introductory remarks. It is, essentially, all the key numbers totaled. Second, an explanation, in which I try to set out my reasoning in arriving at each number and some additional context, to try and set the scene, where appropriate. Third and finally, I have concluded with some supplementary information, based on the final numbers.

By way of concluding this introduction, a few brief words about the methodology. Zuma took office on 9 May 2009. For each amount I have tried to determine an annual cost (April to April) and the cost of a full five year term. I have assumed his term will end in April 2014 (there is a three month window in which an election can be called). No doubt there are many incidental costs I have not covered (I suspect they are too small to make a real impact) and probably one or two more substantial items I have not thought of – I am happy to adjust the document in this regard, and will aim to update and improve it. That said, again, the total amount can only really be adjusted upwards.

There are three kinds of figures:

[1] Those which can be fairly accurately quantified and which are publically available (his salary, for example);
[2] Those partly known and which can be broadly quantified or projected (allowances, for example); and
[3] Those which are unknown and which, in some cases, can be credibly estimated.

I have made use of the Ministerial Handbook as a guide to expenses. Although it doesn’t mention the Presidency specifically, the Presidency is on record saying it “currently rel[ies] on the ministerial handbook” for precedent. It gives a general framework and direction for the costs associated with the highest office in the country. For all intents and purposes, however, it remains a generally useless document. It was approved by Cabinet in February 2007 and although the government has been promising a new one for over two years now, nothing has materialised. It is vague and incomplete; and so badly written and constructed as to invite abuse – which has invariably and frequently happened.

Likewise, the Presidency’s Annual Reports hide figures within other figures (the Spousal Unit, for example) and makes oversight as difficult as possible. It is incredible hard, often impossible, to tie hard numbers to the amorphous parameters set out in the Handbook. The ANC’s refusal to establish a portfolio committee for the Presidencymakes accountability even harder. Often one has to rely on parliamentary questions (the answers to which are hardly a model of transparency) and other sources.

A defining feature of this exercise, then, was how much effort the Presidency puts into hiding, concealing, manipulating and covering up its costs. The Presidency is an ostensible model of transparency and a very real example of secrecy. Putting this together was extremely difficult.

Here, then, is how much Jacob Zuma costs you.

The Zuma Balance Sheet

1. Annual Salary: [R2 275 802.00 to R2 753 689.00]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R12 315 706.00
2. Medical Aid: [At least R1 300 000 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R6 500 000.00
3. Pension Payout on Retirement: [Approximately R2 753 689.00]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R2 753 689.00
4. Spousal Support: [At least R15 517 500.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R77 585 000.00
5. Private Vehicle: [70% of salary – R1 835 792.00, for two vehicles]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R3 671 584.00
6. Flights – VIP Squadron: [An approximate average of: R46 838 476.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R234 192 383.00
7. Flights – Additional: [R6 331 174.67 plus additional cost of two planes]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R10 000 000.00
8. Flights – VIP Protection Services: [Unknown]
9. Flights – Helicopters: [At least R14 400 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R72 000 000.00
10. Overseas Allowances – President: [An average of R25 400.00 per year]
• Approximate Five year Total: R127 000.00
11. Overseas Allowances – First Ladies: [Unknown]
12. Accommodation – Hotels: [An average of R420 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R2 100 000.00
13. Accommodation – Official Residences: [An average of R5 300 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R26 500 000.00
14. Accommodation – Private Residences: [R6 400 000.00]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R6 400 000.00
15.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]

At the very least, President Zuma will cost the South African taxpayer R514.1m over five years – an average of R102.8m per year; in other words, half a billion Rand. Were he to secure another term, his Presidency would cost the South African public, at least, R1 billion.

I have not adjusted some of these figures for inflation. VIP Protection, for example, is all based on a 2009 sum. At a modest average of 5% over this five year period, the R60 million I have projected would be closer to R75 million if inflation were taken into account. And, the R46.8 million per year on VIP Squadron flights is only based on figures up to April 2012. At 5% it would be closer to R51m per year by 2014. Obviously, if one projected the total figure forward to a second term, that too would not take inflation into account, easily an additional R130million. So, this is worth bearing in mind when considering just how conservative the total cost is.

Breakdown of Costs

1. Annual Salary [Known]: Zuma recently agreed to an inflation-related 5.5% salary increase, as recommended by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, bringing his annual salary to R2 662 561.00, up from R2 485 839.00 and backdated to 1 April 2012. Zuma was inaugurated on 9 May 2009. His annual salary breakdown over that period is as follows:

• 1 April 2009 – 1 April 2010: R2 275 802.00 (11 months, R2 086 151.00)
• 1 April 2010 – 1 April 2011: R2 367 466.00 (1 year, 5% increase)
• 1 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

I projected the Presidency’s salary for 2013/14 at R2.75m based on a 5% increase, which is typical. The five year total is approximately (and very near to): R12 315 706.00.