Zuma's wife loses jewels in luggage theft

2013-05-07 09:00

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Johannesburg - Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, the fifth wife of President Jacob Zuma, is claiming compensation of half a million rand from SA Airlink after uninsured jewellery apparently disappeared from her luggage during a flight.

However, SA Airlink held an investigation and decided to reject the claim, saying its employees had been cleared from any involvement, reported Beeld.

The airline could find no proof that her luggage had been tampered with while in its possession.


Among the missing jewellery is a diamond bracelet worth R185 000, a white diamond set of earrings, a bracelet and necklace worth R88 950, and three white diamond rings worth R20 000, R42 000 and R57 570 respectively.

The theft allegedly happened on 15 December last year when Madiba-Zuma flew from Mbombela to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg before driving to Bloemfontein to support her husband at the ANC’s Mangaung elective conference.

In a statement made on 18 December, she said she had put 36 pieces of expensive jewellery in a crème-coloured make-up bag in her orange Cellini suitcase that didn’t have a lock.

“After we arrived (in Bloemfontein), we rushed for dinner. That was when I opened my suitcase for the first time and realised the make-up bag with all my exclusive jewellery was gone,” she says in the statement. 

Rodger Foster, head of SA Airlink rejected her claim after available CCTV footage showed her luggage had not been tampered with. He also said employees had passed polygraph tests.  

The airline was not available for further comment.

Madiba-Zuma said she had instructed her lawyers to consider her legal position and advise her accordingly.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  bloemfontein  |  johannesburg  |  air travel

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