afrol News, 2 March - South African sources report that President Jacob Zuma's polygamy practice is costing the state dearly, as all wives want an official car. The police force denies these reports.
Following South African press reports, the country main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) yesterday joined the wave of "concern" over the alleged costs following President Zuma's many wives and girlfriends.
DA spokesman Athol Trollip said the party was "concerned by reports that President Jacob Zuma is seeking to hire luxury vehicles in each of seven provinces for the purpose of transporting his wives. Thus far, over rand 69 million [US$ 10 million] has been wasted by this administration on luxury vehicles," Mr Trollip added.
The DA spokesman said this excessive spending on President Zuma's wives only represented "the Presidency’s latest expenditure scandal," listing several examples of "misuse of public funds," including some rand 200 million (US$ 29 million) "allocated to the upgrading of the President's Pretoria residence over the next three years."
The controversy, received gratefully by the South African opposition, started by press reports that President Zuma's three wives and one girlfriend were the reason behind a newly revealed tender for seven new luxury cars. South African media concluded these new cars could only be needed by the many female companions of the President.
Reports carried by South African media earlier this week claimed that President Zuma "wants seven more luxury cars permanently available for his wives."
Today, he South African Police Service (SAPS) slammed as "inaccurate and misleading" newspaper reports regarding the renting of cars for President Zuma's wives, saying there was nothing untoward about it.
However, the SAPS statement said that the need for the vehicles formed part of a tender process that was recently advertised as a result of the cessation of a previous tender. "In other words, this is by no means an introduction of something new that the vehicles must be hired for use by the spouses of the President when fulfilling their roles in support of the President," the statement said.
The vehicles were said to form part of the security provisions for the spouses and providing them fell under the mandate of police. "Therefore, it is not the President who 'wants' the cars, as stated by independent newspapers. It is a routine operational issue by SAPS, which has nothing to do with the Presidency," the police force clarified.
It added that the vehicles would be for hire and did not have to be "permanently available" as indicated by South African journalists. "The cost of hiring these vehicles does not encroach on the security issues per se," the South African police concluded.
The SAPS finally said it had decided not to disclose the cost of hiring the vehicles because to do so would give an indication to potential bidder what rates they should tender.
President Zuma himself has not commented on the scandal. He is currently on an official state visit in France, with two of his wives.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.