Zuma's wedding, a private celebration

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretoria - The village of Nkandla will be alive with celebrations this weekend as a new bride is welcomed into the Zuma household.

President Jacob Zuma is to wed his long-time fiancee, Bongi Ngema. Ngema will become the President's fourth wife, joining Sizakele, Nompumelelo and Thobeka.

The wedding ceremony will be a private family affair, and government will not be paying for the wedding, Zuma's office has indicated.

All costs associated with the ceremony will be paid for by the President himself.

The Presidency recently also clarified the issue of maintenance of spouses.

Responding to media reports that government pays for the maintenance of the spouses of the President, the high office said this was 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 did 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.