Dear Madam/Sir

I refer to your article of 6 October 2019 titled “The policy that has seen R60m spent since 2016 on former Presidents and their wives” dealing with the benefits afforded to former Presidents. 

The article quotes DA MP Leon Schreiber - referring to “the lifestyles of the rich and shameless” - and claiming that

“…taxpayers foot the bill of the lifestyles of six former presidents, deputies and their families….We spend about R3.5 million per year on each former president…” and “this is all on top of the generous pension benefits and the R3 million annual salary each president continues to receive for the rest of their lives.” 

In the case of former President FW de Klerk, by far the greater part of the expense involved is on the security that the State provides to him.  The level of security is not determined by Mr De Klerk but by the SAPS within the framework of regular risk assessments.  Unfortunately, the need for security goes with the former job.

Mr De Klerk is also provided with the services of an Executive Assistant, office space and equipment, to assist him to carry out the extensive work flowing from his position as a former President.  He still goes into the office whenever he is in Cape Town and - at the age of 83 - continues to work on matters that had their origin during his presidency - most notably in his efforts to support and promote the Constitution that he helped to negotiate.

His annual pension - after 25 years in Parliament and public office - is less than R700 000 per annum.

These benefits are relatively modest by comparison with those offered by most other countries to former heads of state and government - and indeed, with those offered by many large companies to their retiring chief executives.

Yours sincerely
Dave Steward

FW de Klerk Foundation

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
11 October 2019

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