Is Zuma really wed?

2010-07-10 00:00

THE office of President Jacob Zuma maintains that no comments will be issued about the validity of his customary marriages to his second and third wives following a recent judgment that casts doubt on most polygamous relationships in the country.

Business Day reported that in a judgment published in this month’s law reports, high court judge Eberhard Bertelsmann ruled that unless a “written contract, which will regulate the future matrimonial system of the marriages”, is submitted to court for approval, a second and any further marriages under customary law are void.

The newspaper reported that according to research by the Women’s Legal Centre, only three contracts have yet been registered in South Africa out of more than 100 000 registered customary marriages.

President Zuma’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, could not be drawn to say whether Zuma had submitted the contracts after his customary marriages to his second wife, Nompumelelo MaNtuli Zuma, and third wife Thobeka kaMadiba Zuma, respectively.

“Although the president is a public figure, he did not marry as the president, but as Zuma,” said Kodwa.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on the private life of the president. He has a right to his private life.”

Judge Bertelsmann said his interpretation is in line with the aims of the Customary Marriages Act, which was promulgated to protect “both the existing spouse or spouses and the new intended spouse(s)”.

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