Report: ANC leader Jacob Zuma planning to take third wife

Other News Materials 17 February 2008 17:43 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- South Africa's controversial new ruling African National Congress (ANC) party leader Jacob Zuma, husband to two wives, is planning to take a third, the Sunday Times reported.

Zuma, 65, who married his second wife in a traditional Zulu ceremony in January, weeks after he ousted President Thabo Mbeki as head of the ANC in a party election, is planning to marry a 35-year- old " Durban socialite," according to the newspaper.

Zuma, who is the party's candidate for president in 2009 elections despite facing trial later this year for alleged corruption in a state arms deal, has already paid lobola (bride price) for Thobeka Mabhija, the paper reported.

When contacted for comment by the Sunday Times, Thobeka Mabhija, appeared to lend credence to the report, demanding: "How did you know about it?"

Polygamy is permitted under Zulu culture.

In January Zuma married Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma at a colourful ceremony at his estate in his native KwaZulu-Natal province, at which both bride and groom wore full Zulu regalia.

The newspaper also reported that Zuma, who is still married to his first wife of nearly 40 years, had paid lobola for two more women - one from rural KwaZulu-Natal, the other a Swazi princess.

In total he has been married four times. In 1998 Zuma divorced Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and in 2000 another of his wives, Kate Zuma, reportedly committed suicide.

Zuma's multiple marriages poses a conundrum over which wife would be first lady if he became president in 2009.

Questioned on the matter Mabhija told the Sunday Times she would cross that bridge "when I become Mrs Zuma."