South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to earn a salary of R3.9 million in 2019, making him one of the best paid presidents in the world.
During his 2019 budget speech, finance minister Tito Mboweni announced that a salary freeze will be implemented for Members of Parliament and the executive.
However, in the budget documents, the salaries of both Ramaphosa and deputy president David Mabuza are higher than before.
Ramaphosa’s proposed salary is 8.3% higher than his 2018 allocation of R3.6 million.
A higher than inflation increase is being budgeted at a time that the South African government is trying to clamp down on costs – particularly when it comes to the government wage bill.
The country is also facing several economic crises, with mounting debts at state companies; creeping GDP growth under 1%; record high unemployment rates; looming credit rating cuts – all exacerbated by corruption and maladministration.
While it is up to the president to sign off on the salaries of government officials, it is parliament that will decide on the president’s salary later in the year.
It should therefore be noted that even though Ramaphosa’s salary for 2019 is budgeted at R3.9 million, it does not necessarily mean that is what he will get paid, or choose to take should it be granted.
For example, in 2018, the president donated half his salary to be managed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Ramaphosa’s salary vs the world
In late 2018, jobs portal Adzuna researched the salaries of the 45 of the world’s leaders, including leading countries like the USA, UK, China and many European nations.
The data was taken from public sources, media reports and various research groups.
Slotting in Ramaphosa’s expected salary for 2019, he remain one of the highest paid presidents in the world, earnings the twelfth-highest income among his peers.
If Ramaphosa were to donate half his salary as he did in 2018, even at R1.95 million, he would rank (27th), ahead of Mexico, Poland and Indonesia’s leaders.
According to the data, the world’s highest-paid leader remains Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, who has ‘suffered’ a pay freeze for the last few years. Despite this, he still earns well over R22 million a year.
Adzuna’s data is reported in Australian dollars, and was converted at current rates to US dollars and rands. Amounts are not exact, but give an accurate indication of where the world leaders place.
Some exceptions include US president Donald Trump, who has made good on his promise to donate his entire salary – however, the US presidential salary is still paid out, so he has been included to indicate his relative positioning.
This is how world leaders are paid:
Conversions: 1 AUD = 0.72 USD | 1 AUD = 10.27 ZAR