Zuma's spouses can accompany him on engagements

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pretoria - It is the prerogative of President Jacob Zuma to choose to be accompanied by any or all of his spouses on official or public engagements, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Presidency said Zuma would be accompanied by any of the spouses to official or public engagements, or all of them at the same time should he so decide.

"This is his prerogative, and has been the practice since he took office," it said.

While the Constitution and the public service regulations do not make provision for a First Lady or First Ladies, and there is no such official designation, the Presidency provides administrative support to the spouses of the President through its spousal office. This has been the practice in past administrations.

This comes after media reports and speculation following Zuma's wedding to Tobeka Madiba-Zuma on Monday.

The Presidency further clarified incorrect media reports that the President had five wives.

He in fact has three, Sizakele Khumalo (MaKhumalo), Nompumelelo Ntuli (MaNtuli) and Tobeka Madiba (KaMadiba). He has a fianc,, Bongi Ngema.

The spouses may choose to engage in community work or any other activity that supports the work of the President, however, this is not mandatory as they are not part of the Presidency or the public service.

"They undertake this work purely on a voluntary basis," said the Presidency.

MaKhumalo's area of interest is agriculture and food security, and she runs a vegetable garden project in Nkandla, while KaMadiba has a special interest in health matters, especially work relating to the fight against cervical cancer.

MaNtuli's focus is in social development, and she does a lot of work relating to assisting orphans and vulnerable children.