Nkandla will be buzzing next weekend when President Jacob Zuma ties the knot with Bongi Ngema-Zuma.
The wedding will be a private ceremony and will take place at the recently renovated family home.
Ngema-Zuma is a businesswoman. She has worked for various companies in Johannesburg, including Deloitte & Touche; IBM and JIC Mining Services. She established the Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation in 2010.
In a statement issued by the Presidency on Sunday, spokesman, Mac Maharaj, clarified that the wedding ceremony was going to be paid for by Zuma and would not be funded by the government.
“There appears to be a belief in the media that the government pays for the maintenance of the spouses of the president. This is grossly incorrect.
“The spouses pay for their own living or household expenses, food, mortgages, lights, water and so forth. They live in private homes,” he said.
The spouses had no constitutionally defined roles, obligations or responsibilities and as such were not remunerated by the State, Maharaj added.
“South Africa does not have a position of a ‘first lady’ or “first spouse’, per se.
“There are, however, expectations that where possible and if requested, the spouses will provide support to the president in the execution of his duties, and specifically so at state and official functions,” he explained.
However, the Presidency did provide 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 includes the appointment of support staff such as secretaries, and 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,” Maharaj said.
He also said that the living expenses of the children were paid for by the family and not by the government.
A dependant child, defined as a financially dependant child under the age of 18, and a financially dependant and unmarried child over the age of 18 but under 27 and studying full-time at a recognised secondary or tertiary institution could utilise up to 60 single domestic economy class flights a year to visit their parents within the country at the cost of the Presidency.
“Travel costs beyond the allotted tickets are to be borne by the president. Dependant 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,” Maharaj said.
Zuma’s wives are Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Thobeka Madiba.