South Africa- President Jacob Zuma who is facing fresh speculation over his personal life amid claims he had been cheated on by one of his wives reports Ilanga newspaper, has issued a response defying the allegations.
A statement issued on behalf of the president by Vincent Magwenya of the Office of the President, reads that “the Presidency has noted with great concern reports that violate the privacy of President Jacob Zuma and his wife Mrs Nompumelelo Zuma, published in the media on 3-4 June 2010.”
“The reports appear to be part of an ongoing and malicious campaign to undermine the right of the President and his family to privacy and dignity.”
“President Zuma continues to be seized with matters of State and will not be diverted from his duties.
“He will not dignify such gossip with a response.”
The newspaper had alleged that one of South African president Jacob Zuma’s THREE wives ‘cheats on him with bodyguard’ Mr Zuma’s second wife Nompumelelo, 35, allegedly had an extra-marital relationship with one of her bodyguards.
The claims were first made in South Africa’s Ilanga newspaper and come as Mr Zuma prepares to play the global statesman when his country hosts the World Cup.
Zulu tradition: Jacob Zuma with second wife Nompumelelo Ntuli, right, who faces allegations of an affair, dances during their wedding at Nkandla in January 2008
But after the couple left South Africa on Wednesday Illanga published details of a letter in which it was claimed she had cheated on him with Soweto-born security guard Phinda Thomo.
The Zulu-language newspaper claimed the document had been sent to its office anonymously and signed by ‘concerned family members’.
It reported that Thoma had committed suicide after the affair was revealed.
The claims about Mrs Zuma’s alleged infidelity come a week after it was reported she was expecting a baby, believed to be Mr Zuma’s 21st.
But Ilanga claimed the paternity of the baby was now in question.
A statement apparently issued by Zuma family spokesman Khulubuse Zuma last night denied the anonymous letter had been sent from any of the president’s relatives and attributed the claims to unnamed political opponents.
The document, which was faxed to South Africa’s Press Association, said: ‘The president’s family is united in distancing itself from these malicious reports about the first lady Mama Nompumelelo MaNtuli.
‘No member of the family could have been the source of this misinformation ‘It is particularly shameful and alarming that the president’s political enemies have now taken to masquerading as members of his family who spread malicious innuendo about him and his family.’
Zulu Mr Zuma married Nompumelelo Ntuli, known affectionately as MaNutila, in 2008.
The couple have two children together and she is one of his three current spouses.
Today it was reported that the president intends to call an urgent family meeting when he returns to South Africa tomorrow.
The country’s Times newspaper quoted an anonymous source who said Mr Zuma was ‘deeply concerned’ about the claims.
First (and second) ladies’ club: Nompumelel, second from right, poses with other wives of world leaders, including Sarah Brown, at the 2009 G8 conference in Italy
The source said: ‘The president is deeply concerned about these allegations. ‘That is why the intelligence services and the police are now on this matter.
‘As soon as he is back, he is going to have a family meeting with all his wives, children and other family members.
‘He wants to know about the letter and how it ended up in the press.’ The claims are the latest in a string of controversies to affect Mr Zuma’s polygamous family.
In February he was forced to apologise to the nation after admitting he had fathered a child out of wedlock with the daughter of his friend Irvin Khoza, a senior figure in South Africa’s World Cup organisation.
That scandal came on the eve of a state visit to Britain and led to angry exchanges between Mr Zuma and the British press over his behaviour.
Some commentators have previously hinted at problems within the Zuma household and alleged friction between his wives.
Mr Zuma, who has married five times in total, wed his most recent spouse Thobeka Madiba in January.
But Nompumelelo was conspicuously absent from the ceremony in his native KwaZulu-Natal province.
Earlier she had been seen jostling with Thobeka for a position next to the president when he was sworn in as state leader following his election in April 2009.
Mr Zuma, whose Zulu culture allows multiple marriages, is also wed to first wife Sizakele Khumalo and is believed to be engaged to another woman. He has had two other marriages.
He divorced from cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1998 after the couple had four children together.
And he had five children with Kate Mantsho, who committed suicide in 2000.
Mr Zuma’s return to South Africa this weekend will see him engaged in the final preparations for the World Cup.
Next Friday he is due to sit alongside dozens of world leaders and VIPs for the tournament’s opening ceremony at the Soccer City stadiumin Johannesburg.