Govt not paying for Zuma wedding, says Presidency

Monday, April 16, 2012

President - Government will not be paying for the upcoming wedding of President Jacob Zuma and costs for the ceremony will be paid by the President himself, the Presidency has clarified in a statement.

Zuma will tie the knot with his long-time fianc,e Bongi Ngema at a ceremony in Nkandla this weekend.

The Presidency also moved to clarify the issue of maintenance of spouses by the office of the President.

"There appears to be a belief in the media that government pays for the maintenance of the spouses of the President. This is grossly incorrect. The spouses pay their own living or household expenses, be it food, mortgages, lights, water and so forth. Nothing is paid for by the State in the four households of the spouses. They live in private homes."

The spouses have no constitutionally-defined roles, obligations or responsibilities and as such are not remunerated by the State.

The Presidency said South Africa does not have a position of a "First Lady'' or "First Spouse''. However, there are expectations that where possible and if requested, the spouses will provide support to the President in the execution of his duties.

"The Presidency therefore provides reasonable administrative, logistical and other support to the spouses to enable them to meet the expectations related to the nature of the office of the President."

This included the appointment of support staff such as secretaries to support the spouses, and also the payment of transport and related costs to enable the spouses to provide the said support.

Ngema already has secretarial support provided for by the Presidency so there will be no change in support arrangements.

The Presidency also said the living expenses of the children of the President are borne by the family and not government.

A dependent child, defined as a financially dependent child under the age of 18, and a financially dependent and unmarried child over the age of 18 but under 27 and studying full-time at a recognised secondary or tertiary institution, may utilise up to 60 single domestic economy class flights per annum to visit and reunite with their parents within the country at the cost of the Presidency.

Travel costs beyond the allotted tickets are to be borne by the President. Dependent children under the age of eight are entitled to be escorted by their child minder. The child minder's tickets are subtracted from the 60 allocated to the child. School-going children may also be assisted with transport to school. Otherwise the main living expenses are paid for by the parents.