The Billion Rand President: Update – R8.1m added in ‘Ferry Flights’

by The Editor

FEATURE: As and when new information comes to light, I shall aim to update and maintain ‘The Zuma Balance Sheet’ – the total costs of those privileges afforded President Zuma by the Ministerial Handbook. A new set of information about ‘Ferry Flights’ – empty flights by the Presidential Jet Inkwazi – has just been revealed by the DA. I have added the costs to the total. For the upwardly revised totals, read on.

The Billion Rand President: Update – R8.1m added in ‘Ferry Flights’

By: Gareth van Onselen

21 August 2012

It is my intention, as and when new information comes to light, to update and maintain ‘The Zuma Balance Sheet’.

In my original article, ‘The Billion Rand President’, I set out the purpose behind the Balance Sheet: 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.

With every line item I was extremely conservative. Thus, I believe the figures set out – while perhaps being less than the actual total – do represent an absolute minimum. In other words, if anything, any amount cited will be more in reality, not less. Likewise, if new information comes to light, the Balance Sheet and the various totals can be adjusted accordingly, mostly likely upwards.

The first such information has just come to light. In response to a DA parliamentary question (yet again, such questions being the only reliable source for the facts) the Department of Defence has set out the number ‘Ferry Flights’ undertaken by the planes that constitute the VIP Squadron – reserved for VIP air travel. One such plane, ‘Inkwazi’, is reserved for the President.

You can find the relevant question and response here. And the DA’s David Maynier MP’s statement on the reply here.

A ‘Ferry Flight’ is essential an interim flight undertaken by a plane when it travels to a location to fetch its guests and, therefore, is empty save the crew. In practical terms, if the President is in Polokwane and Inkwazi in Cape Town, a ‘Ferry Flight’ would be Inkwazi’s trip to Polokwane to fetch the President.

In previous parliamentary replies about the costs of flying the President in Inkwazi (such as this one, the basis for the R46m figure in the original Balance Sheet, below), ‘Ferry Flights’ were not included in the total, only those flights when President Zuma was actually aboard.

Thus, the costs of ‘Ferry Flights’ for Inkwazi should be included in the Balance Sheet, as they are obviously accompanying costs.

David’s statement on the matter says that: “between 2009 and 2012 the South African Air Force (SAAF) undertook a total of 700 “ferry flights” for VIPs at the cost of R34.4 million.” Later he notes: “President Jacob Zuma’s Boeing Business Jet (“Inkwazi”) undertook 58 “ferry flights” at the cost of R4.9 million between 2009 and 2012”. That is an average of R1 633 334.00 per year or R8 166 667.00 over a five year term.

So, the updated Balance Sheet now reads as follows:

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. Flights – Ferry Flights: [At R1 333 334.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R8 166 667.00
11. Overseas Allowances – President: [An average of R25 400.00 per year]
• Approximate Five year Total: R127 000.00
12. Overseas Allowances – First Ladies: [Unknown]
13. Accommodation – Hotels: [An average of R420 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R2 100 000.00
14. Accommodation – Official Residences: [An average of R5 300 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R26 500 000.00
15. Accommodation – Private Residences: [R6 400 000.00]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R6 400 000.00
16. VIP Protection: [An average of at least R12 000 000.00 per year]
• Approximate Five Year Total: R60 000 000.00
17. Legal Costs: [Unknown]

With Ferry Flights included, Zuma’s annual cost jumps to, at least, R104.4m and the full cost of a five year term, at least, R522.3m. Were he elected for a second term, his total cost to the taxpayer would be, at least, R1.05 billion.

The new breakdown by time, is as follows. Zuma costs the public:

Per five year term: R522.3m
Per year: R104.5m
Per month: R8 705 200m
Per week: R2 008 892m
Per day: R286 984
Per hour: R11 957
Per minute: R199

David also says the following about the nature of ‘Ferry Flights’: “The Ministerial Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers is clear: members of the executive may use military aircraft for official purposes under exceptional circumstances only. This is clearly not happening.”

There would be occassions, such as when Inkwazi was in for repairs, where Zuma would have chartered other planes. The total above is only for Inkwazi so, again, you can be sure it is conservative and the real total higher.

I shall continue to update the Balance Sheet as an when new information comes to light.

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