President Jacob Zuma will earn a cool R2 874 851 a year when his salary increase kicks in on April 1.
The salary increase was approved in the National Assembly on Thursday, despite fierce objections from some opposition parties. 172 MPs voted in favour of the increase, while 81 voted against, and two abstentions were recorded.
Zuma was not present to hear the good news, and also missed MPs arguing for and against the increase, with some complaints thrown into the mix of points of order. The Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommended a 5% salary increase for Zuma in November.
The increase would be for the 2015/16 financial year for the president and all other public office bearers. This would boost Zuma’s salary by over R100 000, from R2.75m to over R2.8m. His tax will be around R120 000 per annum.
A last minute bid by the DA and the EFF to block the increase did not succeed. The DA rose to ask that the increase proposal be amended to say that in the light of Zuma’s “reckless actions” at the end of last year in changing the minister of finance twice, his salary should remain unchanged.
The EFF tried to propose an amendment that his salary be suspended indefinitely “since he has admitted that he duly benefited from the Nkandla upgrade and he now wants to pay back the money, so he does not deserve any salary increment adjustments”.
The proposed amendments were put to a vote and rejected. Some opposition parties rose to make declarations, with Cope saying Zuma did not deserve it. But the IFP, NFP, UDM and Agang said everybody else was very happy to get their increase, so Zuma should get one too. DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said Zuma had driven over South Africa with a bus during the Nkandla controversy and “does not deserve a cent”.
The ANC’s acting chief whip, Doris Dlakude, said that everybody got the increase, “including [DA MP] Dianne Kohler Barnard”, so Zuma should too.
“The president will receive his salary increase whether you like it or not… live with it.”