Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has lifted the lid on the upkeep of his predecessor Jacob Zuma, saying the state has spent about R1million since he left office almost a year ago.
On Thursday, Ramaphosa, in a written parliamentary reply to a question posed by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, said the money had so far been spent on Zuma’s trips, flights, cellphone expenses as well as administrative support.
However, the president would not disclose the nature of Zuma’s trips saying he was no longer in office and his trips were not “a matter for the Presidency”.
Ramaphosa noted that Zuma was entitled to certain state benefits enjoyed by all other former presidents.
“As with all former presidents, former president Zuma is 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,” he wrote in his reply.
He also highlighted that the cost of Zuma’s trips was borne by the Presidency.
Besides financial support for his trips, Zuma is also entitled to have his administrative personnel, cellphone and office equipment expenses funded by the government.
According to Ramaphosa, between February when Zuma resigned and November last year, the state had paid more than R150000 for his flights.
“All other expenses related to the former president, spouses and his two support staff members for the period February 14 to November 30 amount to R837444.
These expenses include cellphone, flights, accommodation and car rental expenses,” stated Ramaphosa.
Zuma has been travelling around the country since he left, but some of the notable meetings he attended were ANC NEC meetings in Irene, Pretoria.
Zuma has also been doing some campaign work for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma resigned on Valentine’s Day last year after the ANC took a decision to recall him.
He was the second ANC leader to be recalled after former president Thabo Mbeki 10 years earlier.
In Parliament last year, Ramaphosa revealed that the state had already spent more than R15m in funding Zuma’s legal costs.
The opposition has since called for the country’s former leader to repay all the legal fees dating back to many years ago.
Last month the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, ordered Zuma to reimburse the state the money it had paid for his legal fees incurred so far.
It found that Zuma was liable for legal fees of between R15m and R32m over the years.
Zuma, however, said he would appeal this judgment.
The former president is still expected to mount a lengthy legal fight in his ongoing corruption case.