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Thread: The Government Provides More Than $2 Million a Year for “spousal” Support for President Zuma and His Three Wives and 20 Children.

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    The Government Provides More Than $2 Million a Year for “spousal” Support for President Zuma and His Three Wives and 20 Children.

    The government provides more than $2 million a year for “spousal” support for President Zuma and his three wives and 20 children. When he was charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering, the charges were dismissed.

    JOHANNESBURG — Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has 20 children, three wives and a fiancée. Recently, the matter of how he supports this large and widely dispersed family has been vigorously questioned

    Indeed, the finances of everyone in government are suddenly viewed with a skepticism that often drifts into contempt. Zwelinzima Vavi, a labor leader and longtime ally of Mr. Zuma’s, is calling for “lifestyle audits” of all senior officials to surmise who is on the take and just how much they are taking.

    For years, people have noticed a mismatch between the income and the outgo of many within the governing African National Congress. The A.N.C. is the party of Nelson Mandela, the organization that liberated the country from apartheid, the home of many heroes now struggling to get rich.

    In his novel “Black Diamond,” Zakes Mda, one of the nation’s leading writers, wryly observed, “In this brave new world, accumulation of personal wealth is dressed up in militarism, as if capitalism is the continuation of the guerrilla warfare that was fought during apartheid.”

    The catalyst for the current demand for accounting is not Mr. Zuma but rather the second most quoted member of the A.N.C., the leader of its youth league, Julius Malema. A virtual unknown two years ago, Mr. Malema, 29, is a young man seemingly unwise beyond his years.

    His A.N.C. comrades could perhaps tolerate his abuse of political opponents, enjoying how he denounced them as Satanists or demeaned the women as too ugly to marry. He recently insulted the country’s Afrikaner minority by leading students in the old struggle chant, “Kill the farmer, kill the Boer.” In a nation where the police say 861 white farmers have been killed since 2001, some deemed this sing-along insensitive to say the least.

    But Mr. Malema has also turned his tongue on veteran A.N.C. stalwarts, particularly leaders of the party’s alliance partners, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, calling them reactionaries. He said the Communists presented themselves as champions of the working class while “they spend most of their time drinking red wine.”

    Mr. Malema is popular in the townships, where most young people delight in the entertainment value of his scalding wit. But he is increasingly despised within his own party’s hierarchy and now claims that several A.N.C. leaders are out to “smear” him. This hardly seems implausible.

    For a long time, people have wondered how a young man with an impoverished past has collected enough cash to own a fine home in the Johannesburg suburbs. Mr. Malema serves Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky and Moët & Chandon Champagne at his parties. He wears Gucci suits and a Breitling watch. He walks through poor communities in designer jeans.

    In a single weekend last month, three major newspapers published exposés about Mr. Malema, asserting that he has amassed a fortune through government contracts steered to businesses in which he owns an interest.

    According to The City Press, one company, SGL Engineering Projects, which listed Mr. Malema as a director, won $20 million in contracts from municipalities in Mr. Malema’s home province. The company’s earnings have multiplied in just the past two years, even though its work has often been found shoddy, news reports said.

    These simultaneous revelations may have been a case of coincidental sleuthing — or perhaps closely timed leaks from well-informed enemies.

    Under pressure to respond, Mr. Malema, speaking through his attorney, said that in 2008 he resigned his directorships in all companies. He insisted that he was unaware that he currently held a position in SGL.

    Mr. Zuma has routinely supported his pugnacious acolyte, and this time was no different. “I’m not sure Malema has no right to business, on what basis I don’t know,” the president said.

    But blood was in the water, and soon the call for lifestyle audits stretched into the presidency itself. Mr. Zuma said such invasive accounting was unnecessary, arguing that by law government officials already were obligated to disclose their business interests, gifts and assets.

    The president was correct about that. In fact, by law he was supposed to report the details of his finances within 60 days of assuming office. He was inaugurated 10 months ago but had yet to comply with the ethics code.

    Last Wednesday, a week after the news media finally awakened to Mr. Zuma’s non-compliance — and after even some political allies had joined political adversaries in their disapproval — the president submitted an accounting of his holdings, though the extent of that disclosure has yet to become public.

    As to how he supports all those dependents, part of the answer emerged Tuesday when Collins Chabane, a minister within the presidency, said the government provided more than $2 million a year for “spousal” support. The examples he gave were for expenses relating to the duties of Mr. Zuma’s wives in their capacities as first ladies, such as secretaries, air travel, cellphones and computers. No details were given regarding government support for the president’s children.

    The payment of Mr. Zuma’s bills has been an issue before. In 2005, a close friend and financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty of bribing Mr. Zuma in return for help in various business deals. The moneybags were open for items big and small: vacations, medical bills, even the allowance for Mr. Zuma’s children. The trial judge said the two had a “mutually beneficial symbiosis.”

    Mr. Zuma was later charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering. He avoided a trial when prosecutors dismissed the case because of misconduct within their ranks, just weeks before he was sworn in as president.

    Mr. Shaik, sentenced to 15 years, spent only 28 months in jail before being freed on medical parole in March 2009. At the time, he was said to be near death, though he has since been observed driving around Durban in his BMW X6.

    That is not the automobile Mr. Malema prefers. He sits behind the wheel of a black C63 Mercedes-Benz AMG.

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    By Gaye Davis
    Deputy Political Editor

    President Jacob Zuma's declaration of gifts and financial interests omits his Nkandla land and homestead, but lists the Durban house his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli is occupying rent-free, although it does not give a value for this benefit.

    Zuma's homestead in Nkandla, Zululand, is undergoing extensive renovations and additions.

    MaNtuli has been living free of charge since 2005 in an Innes Road home owned by Abdul Rahim Malek. Malek served her with an eviction notice last month, but fellow Zuma associate Erwin Ullbricht intervened and MaNtuli and her two children were allowed to stay on.

    The house is included among the gifts declared for MaNtuli and listed "use of property in Morningside, Durban". The value is recorded as being "unknown" and the source only as "Mr Malek".

    Zuma's declaration, submitted eight months late, comprises mainly gifts, including a party given for him after his inauguration by his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, and "the community of Nkandla", and a Christmas party for "orphans and vulnerable children" given by the Jacob Zuma Education RDP Trust Fund.

    It includes the usual diplomatic offerings - blue pyjamas and bathrobes from the Italian prime minister, carpets from the Egyptian president, liquor and cigars from the Cuban ambassador - and gifts from friends and associates.

    There is no mention of any companies. Zuma's attorney, Michael Hulley, said last week the president held no "directorship, membership or shareholding in any company".

    Hulley has said that although Zuma remains listed as active in one business, this is because records in the companies' register have yet to be updated.

    Zuma's declaration lists the companies to which his wives Nompumelelo, Sizakele and Thobeka are linked, as well as those of his fiance, Bongekile Ngema.

    While the Executive Members' Ethics Code requires that the interests of spouses, companions and dependent children be declared, it provides for this information, and details of members' liabilities, to be kept confidential.

    Under the interests of spouses, MaNtuli is listed as being linked to nine companies, including three involved in construction: Mazisi Construction and Development cc, WaMuhle Construction cc and WOCO Construction cc.

    She is also listed as a director of two Section 21 companies, Heavenly Pride and the MaNtuli Foundation.

    Sizakele Khumalo Zuma is an active member of only two companies, while Thobeka Madiba is linked to five and is a director of two of these: the not-for-profit Cherry Moss Trade and Investment ° and the Lethimpilo Women's Employment Movement cc.

    Fiancee Bongekile Gloria Ngema is an active member of five companies, including Hanedzani Nyelisani Trading (Pty) Ltd, of which she is a director.
    Although the word "Commando" was wrongly used to describe all Boer soldiers, a commando was a unit formed from a particular district. None of the units was organized in regular companies, battalions or squadrons. The Boer commandos were individualists who were difficult to control, resented formal discipline or orders, and earned a British jibe that"every Boer was his own general".

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