A PAIR: South African Acting President and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and his partner Gugu Mtshali welcome Prince Charles to OR Tambo House in Pretoria. This week, it was confirmed Motlanthe and Mtshali were an item.

Gugu Mtshali, a 47-year-old businesswoman, is officially Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s consort – after having been involved in an extra-marital relationship with him for years.

Mtshali was seen in public this week at the notoriously private Motlanthe’s side, when the deputy president hosted Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, at a dinner in Pretoria on Thursday night.

Motlanthe’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, confirmed that Mtshali, who once worked as Mathews Phosa’s personal assistant at Luthuli House was in a relationship with the deputy president and was his “official partner”.

“This is not the first time she has been at his side in public,” he added, “she was with him when he went on his recent trip to the Nordic countries.”

Motlanthe has been estranged from his wife, Mapula, with whom he has three adult children, for many years. Masebe said the deputy president was in the process of finalising a divorce.

Independent Newspapers revealed two years ago when Motlanthe was the country’s acting president, that he had been in a relationship with Mtshali for a number of years, which had been an open secret among ANC insiders, culminating in the break-up of her 17-year-long marriage in 2008.

Mtshali left her family house in Sydenham in August that year, moving to a house in Norwood and was divorced by December.

She was in the news last year as one of the handful of black economic empowerment beneficiaries known as Imperial Crown Trading, linked to President Jacob Zuma who stood to share a total of R9 billion from a controversial mining deal in Sishen in the Northern Cape. To this day, the deal has not been finalised. - Independent on Saturday