Zuma’s salary vs global presidents

President Jacob Zuma’s salary increase for 2016 was approved by National Assembly on Thursday (10 March), taking his total pay up to R2.87 million.

Zuma’s increase is in line with recommendations made by the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, which stated the president should get a 5% rise.

The Commission also recommended a 6% to 8% increase for other public offices, however, Zuma cut this down to 4.4%, taking into account the recent economic turmoil in the country.

When compared to other presidents globally, Zuma’s salary is high –  amounting to R7,863 per day.

President Barack Obama – leader of the the richest country in the world, the USA – is paid a flat rate of $400,000 (R6.2 million in at current exchange rates), but that’s a country with  six times the population and eight times the punch in terms of GDP per capita.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is widely known to command the highest salary of any politician in the world.

The politician has taken several pay cuts over the years, but still earns a reported $1.7 million a year – far higher than any other official world leader.

Here are a few world leaders, and how Zuma’s latest increase compares to publicly available – official – data.

Leader Country Salary (US$) Salary (ZAR)
Lee Hsien Loong Singapore $1.7 million R26 million
Barack Obama United States $400 000 R6.2 million
Malcolm Turnbull Australia $397 800 R6.1 million
Justin Trudeau Canada $252 000 R3.9 million
Angela Merkel Germany $234 400 R3.7 million
David Cameron UK $214 800 R3.3 million
Shinzo Abe Japan $202 700 R3.1 million
Francois Hollande France $194 300 R3.0 million
Jacob Zuma South Africa $188 000 R2.9 million
Vladamir Putin Russia $125 000 R2.5 million
Dilma Rousseff Brazil $120 000 R2.1 million
Pranab Mukherjee India $30 300 R462 500

Notably, as the figures above are converted from dollar terms (at USD 1 =  ZAR 15.26) Zuma’s “rank” among world leaders is lessened somewhat due to the rand weakness.

Data published in September 2015, by media house, Africa Review, showed that president Zuma was the third-highest paid leader on the African continent.

Note: due to the rand weakness vs the dollar, the dollar value of Zuma’s salary (and presumably the other salaries) listed below are now much lower. 

Africa’s highest paid presidents

# President Country Salary (US$)
1 Paul Biya Cameroon 610 000
2 King Mohammed VI Morocco 480 000
3 Jacob Zuma South Africa 272 000
4 Jakaya Kikwete Tanzania 192 000
5 Abdel Aziz Bouteflika Algeria 168 000
6 Teodoro Nguema Equatorial Guinea 150 000
7 Uhuru Kenyatta Kenya 132 000
8 Ikililou Dhonine Comoros 115 000
9 Denis Sassou Nguesso Congo Republic 110 000
10 Hage Geingob Namibia 110 000
11 Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe 108 000
12 Ameenah Gurib Fakim Mauritius 104 838
13 Alassane Outtara Cote D’Ivoire 100 000
14 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia 90 000
15 Paul Kagame Rwanda 85 000

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Zuma’s salary vs global presidents