That was the response of former president Jacob Zuma’s family amid the barrage of criticism that he had fathered his 23rd child with Nonkanyiso Conco, 24, and paid lobola for her.
If Zuma, 76, does go on to tie the knot with Conco, she will be his seventh bride, and the youngest, with a 52-year gap between them.
Conco, who reportedly checked into a Durban hospital as “Mrs Zuma”, gave birth to the youngest Zuma son on April 12 – coincidentally, Zuma’s birthday.
Constitutional law expert Professor Shadrack Gutto said Zuma’s newborn baby and wife-to-be would not qualify for any presidential benefits. “The state can only cater for those who were his children while he was still the president. It does not mean that every person who has a child with Zuma will be given state funds and protection,” said Gutto.
He said Zuma would have to make private arrangements for the welfare of Conco and his son.
Inkosi Bhekumuzi Zuma, of the KwaNxamalala clan in Nkandla, leapt to Zuma’s defence, saying there was nothing untoward about him taking another wife.
“He showed that he is an honest man by paying lobola for her. How many men out there use young girls and dump them like rubbish when they are fed up?” asked Bhekumuzi.
Explaining the lobola process, Bhekumuzi said: “This is a first step for a couple who are on the road to marriage. There are steps that follow lobola between families of the couples. Don’t be misled, this is part of our culture.”
Zuma’s brother Khanya, 73, also breathed fire at those criticising his brother.
“I’m also taking a second wife soon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. We are not hiding these women, we are making them feel proud by marrying them,” he chuckled.
Both were unconcerned about the age difference between Zuma and Conco.
Despite his resignation, Zuma still enjoys massive support in his home province, which was evident during his court appearance earlier this month on charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption. Scores of Zuma sympathisers descended on the Durban High Court precinct to show support on the day of his appearance. They also held a night vigil.
“The Nxamalalas are amasoka (casanovas). We love and take good care of women and we don’t hide that fact like other men do,” said Khanya.
He said paying lobola was a long-standing Nguni tradition which Zulus followed.
WHO IS CONCO?
Conco, a former presenter at Pietermaritzburg-based uMgungundlovu FM, hails from Thornville in the same area. She attended Haythorne High School in Woodlands, Pietermaritzburg, and went on to study a business course at Varsity College in the same town, according to her former colleagues at the station. Her close friends said she had always bragged that she was in a romantic relationship with Zuma since 2013, who she referred to as uBaba (father) and it is claimed that Conco was a virginity activist. It is believed that Conco now resides at an estate in Zimbali.
Conco’s Instagram account has seen her amass more than 5000 followers and is popular on the picture-sharing application, with hundreds of likes for her pictures. In one picture she showed off what is believed to be the engagement ring Zuma proposed with. The former president is also married to Bongi Ngema, Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo Tobeka Madiba and is reportedly separated with Nompumelelo MaNtuli, who was alleged to have poisoned him, which prompted her axing from Nkandla.