Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe chose a special day in the history of South Africa and the ANC to get married to his sweetheart, Gugu Mtshali.

In a private garden ceremony at a house in Houghton, witnessed by 300 special guests, Motlanthe, elegant in a black tuxedo and Mtshali, stunning in a designer lace wedding dress, exchanged vows in a ceremony conducted by Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

May 10 is the date on which Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first democratically elected president, following the demise of apartheid and the historic elections of April 27, 1994.

The wedding took place on the day the ANC was celebrating its victory in the 2014 national and provincial elections.

Special guests at the wedding included President Jacob Zuma, who made a brief speech, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, and ANC treasurer-general and Transport Minister Ben Martins.

Other guests included ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Joburg Mayor Parks Tau, soccer mogul Kaizer Motaung, former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, former ministers Siphiwe Nyanda, Tokyo Sexwale and Essop Pahad and former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale.

By 1pm, guests had started assembling.

The bride arrived in a Porsche Cayenne draped with white ribbons. As the car passed, two domestic workers ululated.

The entrance to the house was also draped in white. Security was very tight, a handful of SAPS members as well as bodyguards keeping a watchful eye as the ceremony was conducted inside.

Zuma spoke at the wedding, congratulating the couple on their special day. He praised the couple for chosing a day that was special to the ANC and South Africa.

Another former ANC treasurer-general, Mendi Msimang, delivered the keynote address at a reception held in Johannesburg last night.

Guests were entertained by the legendary Sipho Hotstix Mabuse and Ringo.

Jem exclusive catering and events provided the meal for the guests.

LiquidChefs of Rosebank provided drinks, treating guests to Glenfiddich and Glenlivet 18-year-old and 15-year-old single malt whiskys, premium brandies, wine and beer.

The cake was made by Annica’s designer cakes. One of its employees said Mtshali had chosen royal design cake, but refused to divulge how much it had cost.

Martin Phakathi from Martinonio served the guests with cappuccinos, coffees and cupcakes.

Mtshali’s friends posted messages on Facebook congratulating the couple.

“Best wishes Magalela (clan name) as you tie the knot,” said one.

Michael Makgoba wrote: “Like a candle in the dark, may both of you find light with each other.”

The guests started leaving after 4pm.

One of the guests who attended the wedding described Mtshali’s dress as “very beautiful”.

The friend said: “You know how stylish she is. Her dress has lace and beads. It was a mermaid dress. She looked stunningly beautiful.”

As the celebration continued inside, the couple’s neighbours, who struggled to get to their homes because of the traffic around the wedding venue, complained.

“What’s going on here? Obviously it’s one of the government guys.

“I don’t know if I want to live in the same street with VIPs if something like this is going to happen,” yelled one resident.

Motlanthe finally got a divorce settlement from his former wife, Mapula, in March.

He had filed for divorce in 2011, but the procedure was delayed owing to lengthy negotiations.

His former wife had demanded monthly maintenance of R50 000. Motlanthe eventually agreed to pay R30 000. She also got two houses.

They had been separated for several years, and he had lived with Mtshali.

In court papers, Mapula accused Mtshali of being the woman that ruined her marriage.

However, Motlanthe denied these allegations. In his autobiography, he described a painful episode in which his wife fell pregnant by another man.

Shortly after the divorce, Motlanthe went to Mtshali’s home in Pietermaritzburg to finalise negotiations, where a traditional ceremony of umembeso took place.

Motlanthe and Mtshali met while she was working at the ANC’s headquarters as a personal assistant. - The Sunday Independent