Huge uproar around South Africa today as it emerged last night that the country pays a “massive” R15.5m per year to support President Jacob Zuma’s three wives. According to Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, the money is spent on:
“…personal support staff – secretary and researcher – domestic air travel and accommodation, and international air travel and accommodation for official visits abroad approved by the President.”
The budget has increased from just over R8.1m in the previous year, when Kgalema Motlanthe was in charge – although he kept his private life private and his wife did not attend any public engagements.
In 2007/8, when Thabo Mbeki (remember him?) was in charge, the budget stood at R8.4m.
Everyone is up in arms, because obviously, if Zuma had less wives, we wouldn’t be paying as much, innit? How dare he follow his cultural path of polygamy. Of course, there are a couple of things that have been forgotten in all the fuss. Aren’t there always?
- SA is effectively paying R5m per wife per year. Two years ago, we were were paying R8.4m for a wife we rarely saw.
Last year, we were paying R8.1m last year for a wife we weren’t even sure existed.
So where were all the complaints then?
- R15m per year amounts to about R0.30 ($0.04 or 2½ pence!) per head of population per year. That’s 2.5c per month.
And since you were already paying half of that without complaint before, you’re actually moaning about an increase of just over 1 cent per month.
Tell me, in all honesty, did you have big plans for that 1c? Did you?
I don’t disagree that there are other things on which the money could be “better spent”: hospitals, education, housing etc etc. But isn’t that always the case? Why the huge uproar over this?
No, this is just another misinformed and opportunist attack on Zuma’s lifestyle by the media, helpfully egged on by the DA.
When are they going to realise that their efforts would be better served on matters which they have the power (and democratic right) to challenge? Zuma’s polygamy is not one of them.
And if you’re one of those people who are being swept up by the sensationalism of it all before you’ve actually looked at the facts, well, maybe you need to sit down and think why you’re so upset: is it really that 30 cents a year you’re having to fork out or is there actually something else driving that anger?