Zuma's wife attends foundation function

2014-06-08 17:12
President Jacob Zuma and first lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma visit the New York Stock Exchange while in the US to attend the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. (GCIS, Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma and first lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma visit the New York Stock Exchange while in the US to attend the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. (GCIS, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's wife Bongi Ngema-Zuma managed to keep an appointment for her children's foundation at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Sunday while her husband was under doctor's orders to rest.

Councilor Sizwe Khumalo, leading the program, commented on President Jacob Zuma's health.

"We've heard our father isn't doing well," said Khumalo. "Let's wrap this up so you can go take care of him," Khumalo joked, addressing Ngema-Zuma.

Zuma was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on Saturday and was instructed to rest.

African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the hospital visit was for a routine check-up after a gruelling election season.

"It was a routine health check. We heard he would be out by yesterday [Saturday] afternoon or today," he said.

Ngema-Zuma was given a warm welcome by the staff of the hospital who welcomed her in song.

Nurses and other staff of the academic hospital in Soweto and a few members of the public also observed a moment of silence for the late ANC stalwart Epainette Mbeki.

She was the mother of former president Thabo Mbeki and died in an Eastern Cape hospital on Saturday morning.

She was suffering from a chest infection as well as a heart problem. Ngema-Zuma was visiting the children's oncology unit at the hospital.

She was expected to deliver supplies and equipment that had been purchased with donations to the value of R100 000 raised by her foundation, which is named after her.

'Follow me for good'

Ngema-Zuma wanted people to give her attention for the good of the community, she said on Sunday.

She said she decided to start the Bongi Ngema-Zuma foundation in 2010, shortly after she became a "first lady".

"Instead of people following me to Stuttafords to buy a perfume, let them follow me to do something good for the community," she said.

The event was attended by staff of the hospital, several members of the public as well as officials from the African Chinese Women Association which had partnered with the Bongi Ngema-Zuma foundation.

Dressed in a blue skirt and shirt, Ngema-Zuma said initially, she wanted to start an initiative which would focus on diabetes.

She realised there were other diseases which needed attention.

Ngema-Zuma said the diseases her foundation focused on were close to home.

Her own mother had lived with diabetes for around 30 years.

Her father died of cancer a month after being diagnosed.

While delivering her speech, she called forward a young man by name.

He was a young boy who had been treated for cancer at the hospital and had wanted to give back.

Ngema's foundation was donating to the hospital in a bid to satisfy his wish.

The boy was now being treated as an outpatient of the hospital.

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