News : Zuma to be father to No. 21

President Jacob Zuma is apparently to become a father again, this time with his second wife, MaNtuli, amid reports that their marriage is on the rocks.

The day weekend newspapers splashed a possible presidential estrangement on front pages, MaNtuli was photographed arriving in Nice with the president, who is attending the Afro-France summit in the French city.

MaNtuli is also expected to accompany Zuma to India.



Friends and associates of MaNtuli, while rejecting reports that the marriage was strained, confirmed she was pregnant with the couple's third - and Zuma's 21st - child.

They would only speak on condition of anonymity.

The new addition to the Zuma household could not be officially confirmed, with some of the president's aides going to ground, or referring The Mercury to other staff who did not respond.

Zuma's spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, said: "I cannot comment on those issues. Try Vincent (Magwenya), he would be able to answer those questions."

Another presidential staff member rejected reports that there was tension between the president and MaNtuli over previous international trips, including the high-profile trip to the UK in which the president's third wife, Thobeka Mabida-Zuma, stole the show.

A friend of MaNtuli, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed MaNtuli was pregnant, but would not elaborate. The friend said she had known (about the pregnancy) for "a long time".

"I am not aware of any rifts between the president and his wife. But I do know about her pregnancy, which is now showing. It is definitely Zuma's child," said the woman.

When asked about the pregnancy, another close friend of MaNtuli lashed out at the media for "meddling" in the president's personal affairs.

"I cannot say if she's pregnant because it is a sensitive matter. MaNtuli is more than just a friend to me, she is like a mother. What I know is that she is happy, her marriage is doing fine. I last saw her on Friday. We were at Rosebank (Joburg) where I was helping her pick out clothes for her trip to France with the president.

"The bottom line is that personal matters between the president and his wife should be respected and left alone."

Plush

Another associate said MaNtuli was believed to be six months pregnant, but would also not give more details.

Mike Zuma, the president's brother, said the family had not seen weekend reports and was not aware of problems between MaNtuli and Zuma.

In February, Zuma confirmed that he was the father of a love-child with Sonono Khoza, daughter of soccer boss Irvin Khoza. The child was born in October last year.

MaNtuli was in the news earlier this year when The Mercury revealed she was living in a plush Morningside home, paid for by the president's benefactors.
The president later declared this in the Executive Register of Members' Interests.

More recently, it was disclosed that the eThekwini municipality had pulled the plug on the lights and water at the Innes Road mansion with a bill of more than R9 000 unpaid.

While some benefactors have claimed MaNtuli has since moved to a home in La Lucia, another associate indicated yesterday that she was staying at the official presidential residence in Durban, King's House, and had thrown a party there last week.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, who revealed the cost of the presidential household in reply to a parliamentary question, did not answer his phone last night.
The president and MaNtuli are not the only high-profile couple to be expecting a child while in office. Britain's new Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his wife Samantha, are expecting a baby in September.IOL

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