Taxpayers forked out R1m for Jacob Zuma's transport‚ cellphone since he quit

Former President Jacob Zuma
Former President Jacob Zuma
Image: Naziziphiwo Buso

Taxpayers have forked out just under R1m for former president Jacob Zuma‚ his spouses and support staff’s transport and phone bills in the first nine months of his departure from office.

President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed in a response to a parliamentary question published on Thursday that the state paid R150‚668.38 for Zuma’s flights between February 14‚ the day he left office‚ and November 30.

A further R837‚444.41 was spent on flying Zuma’s spouses and two support staff members. The amount also includes Zuma’s cellphone‚ accommodation and car rental expenses during the period.

Ramaphosa was responding to a written question by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen who wanted to know about the costs incurred by the state on Zuma’s trips and all related expenses for the former president.

Steenhuisen also wanted information about the purpose of each trip undertaken‚ to which Ramaphosa said: “Former president Zuma no longer holds public office. The purpose of his trips is therefore not a matter for the presidency.”

Ramaphosa explained that as with all former presidents‚ Zuma was entitled to certain benefits as outlined in the policy on the benefits of executive office. Among other things‚ the policy entitles a former president and an accompanying spouse to an unlimited number of journeys using scheduled commercial domestic flights.

“The cost of these flights is borne by the presidency. Other relevant benefits include the provision of administrative support‚ cellphone expenses and office equipment‚” he said.

Zuma resigned as president on February 14 under pressure from the ANC.