Fiancee controversy

2010-08-28 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has been criticised for taking along his fiancée, Gloria Bongi Ngema, on his state visit to China this week, instead of one of his three wives.

It is not the first time that Zuma has taken Ngema on an important international trip; he took her on a state visit to the U.S. in April.

In a press statement, Cope’s KZN secretary, Philip Mhlongo, said: “Cope in KwaZulu-Natal demands clarity from the protocol team of government … whether public representatives are allowed to take along girlfriends on official trips abroad.”

Cope also raised the cost of the president’s polygamous family: “Cope also notes with concern the current burden on taxpayers of a large family of the president, which remains our responsibility to look after its wellbeing.”

Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) political analyst Justin Sylvester said it is important to consider the costs involved and not the image of Zuma as a polygamist president.

“Who partners the president is really not important as it is a personal issue.

“What is important are the costs involved and the impact on the public purse.

“Despite her being the president’s partner, her trip was presumably paid for by the state,” Sylvester said.

Inkatha Freedom Party national spokesperson the Reverend Musa Zondi said people should not jump to conclusions and condemn the president as South African law allows even MPs to register as many official partners as they want.

“What is important on this matter is what the law in Parliament says. Even if one is not yet married to a person, if he/she has registered as an official partner, she/he is considered a partner,” Zondi said.

An official of the International Relations and Co-operation Department, who asked not to be named, said the ministerial handbook makes provision for “members of the SA cabinet to take along any other person they consider to be a partner” on overseas trips.

Malusi Mogale, the spokesperson for International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, referred all inquiries to the Presidency.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said: “In terms of the cabinet spousal book, Ms Ngema is the companion of the president and is defined in terms of whom the president can take along on trips.

“Traditionally they are married as the president has paid lobola and she was also formally received by the Zuma family according to tradition.

“She is an official companion and the president has every right to take her along,” Kodwa said, also pointing to her earlier trip.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.