South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been praised for announcing he will donate half his salary to charity, as the millionaire leader seeks to lead by example, also flying economy class.
“The president continues to lead by example, we’ve seen him over the past month flying economy, and yesterday he told the nation that half of what it’s giving him as salary will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation – creating a fund for the disadvantaged,” his party’s election chief Mbalula Fikile tweeted on Thursday.
Ramaphosa promised a “new dawn” after replacing scandal-tainted leader Jacob Zuma – who faces multiple corruption charges – earlier this year.
A former trade union leader turned millionaire entrepreneur who brought the McDonald’s franchise to South Africa, Ramaphosa reportedly receives a salary of 3.6 million rand (289,000 dollars).
His reputation suffered when in 2012 he paid millions of rand at auction for a prize buffalo, later acknowledging it was “a mistake in the sea of poverty” in South Africa.
He’s still often slyly dubbed “the buffalo” or “McBuffalo” in local media, and the move with his salary seems to be trying to set things right.
Twitter users were divided over the presidential gesture, with some lauding Ramaphosa while others said he should give away his entire salary as he doesn’t need it due to his huge personal wealth.
“@CyrilRamaphosa you’re doing a profound job. Thank you for donating half of your salary to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for a good cause. This country has been yearning for this kind of leadership,” @Musa7July tweeted.
“Could never be Zuma,” tweeted another user, @lefa_mabogoane.
Ramaphosa is not the first leader in the world to make such a gesture, with Uruguay’s former president Jose Mujica giving away about 90 per cent of his salary.
US leader and multimillionaire Donald Trump has also committed to donating his salary to charity.