London: South African President Jacob Zuma may lose GBP 1.2 million which he receives as ‘spousal support allowance’ from taxpayers to fund his four wives, it has emerged.
Referring to him as a ‘polygamist’, members of the 70-year-old President’s own African National Congress party have suggested the spousal support allowance which he currently receives, is almost double that of his predecessors, and should be restricted to one wife.
Zuma's wives do not take turns in accompanying him on his travels, and stay in individual, luxury thatched huts in his rural homestead or homes in cities.
A few unnamed ANC officials claimed that they felt angry about the apparent waste of public funds.
“What was made clear during the discussions was that, as taxpayers, we cannot afford to continue financing so many wives. Only wife number one should get benefits from the state,” the Daily Mail quoted an ANC official, as saying.
“Our understanding is that when you decide to have more than one wife, you are able to support the others. Then deal with it,” the official added.
According to the report, members of the organisation’s Eastern Capre provincial economic transformation commission backed a proposal that taxpayers should pay for only one presidential wife.
Zuma, the South Africa’s first polygamist president, is a member of the country’s Zulu tribe and is permitted to take multiple spouses by law. He has been married a total of six times and has four current wives.
The country’s first ladies are currently looked after by the office of the Presidency, where they share official first lady duties on a rota.
However, the use of public funds for the presidential spouses has been a contentious issue since Zuma's election as national leader in 2009.
First Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, 15:00