This is the ‘exceptionally generous’ allowance for a South African ambassador living abroad

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan believes that the cost-of-living allowances for South African staff at missions are ‘exceptionally generous’.

The minister briefly outlined that allowances that ambassadorial staff representing the country abroad range from R600,000 to R1.3 million per year, ‘and are paid on top of full salaries, accommodation, education and other allowances’.

His comments were contained in the medium-term Budget policy statement released last week.

Gordhan stressed that the reviews were prepared by consultants and did not necessarily reflect the government’s views or assessment.

“Cost drivers in foreign missions – Over the past three years, the rate of spending growth at foreign missions has  exceeded the rate of rand depreciation. Spending growth was  driven largely by higher property costs, allowances for South African staff, and growth in  the number of locally recruited personnel.

“Cost-of-living allowances for South African staff at missions are exceptionally generous,  ranging from R600,000 to R1.3 million per year, and are paid on top of full salaries, accommodation, education and other allowances,” the statement said.

It was revealed at the end of 2015, that South Africa has the second most diplomatic embassies in the world, behind only the US, spending R3.2 billion annually on global diplomatic missions.

The Sunday Times, citing a reply to a parliamentary question, reported that South Africa has 122 embassies around the world, swallowing up R1.9 billion for salaries and R1.3 billion for ‘goods and services’ every year.

Figures showed that government owns 25 chanceries, one consulate, 35 official residences, 66 staff houses, and 16 plots of land.

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This is the ‘exceptionally generous’ allowance for a South African ambassador living abroad