President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward got married last year, but he is yet to pay the wedding company the balance for planning his lavish nuptials at Tala Game Reserve. Now he is being sued for R1.5 million by the Durban wedding co-ordinating company.
Edward Zuma married Phumelele Shange in October last year and had their wedding reception for 500 guests at the game reserve near Camperdown.
The wedding and reception, which was featured on television lifestyle show Top Billing, was attended by many dignitaries and celebrities, including the president, his wives, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Kenny Kunene.
The reception was held in a huge marquee draped in white and shades of pink, with large chandeliers and bouquets hung from the roof. There were two bottles of premium whisky and several bottles of red wine on every table.
Yesterday, an application brought by Glenwood company Functions for Africa CC against Zuma came before Durban High Court Judge Kevin Swain.
There was no appearance by Zuma or his legal representatives in court. The court ordered that the case be adjourned to later this month, and Zuma was to pay the costs of the adjournment.
According to court papers, the company is demanding payment of just over R1.5m, plus interest of 15.5 percent a year from the date of demand in November last year, and the costs of the application.
Functions for Africa’s sole member, Paul Mann, said in an affidavit that Zuma and his wife had approached him to “arrange and facilitate their wedding”.
Mann said he had sent a quotation of R2.7m for his company’s services to the couple in April last year. The figure had been reduced to R2.5m, and Zuma had agreed to the terms and conditions in July.
Mann said his company had asked for 80 percent of the amount as a deposit, but Zuma had paid only R1m. “Unfortunately and up to the date of the wedding, the respondent had not paid the full 80 percent deposit.”
Mann said that despite not having the full deposit, he had gone ahead with the wedding because he had been asked not to embarrass the couple.
“Due to the incessant pleading, we went on with the wedding. His bride (Phumelele) pleaded with me to continue with the wedding so as to not embarrass or inconvenience them.”
He said Zuma had sent SMSes to him before the wedding in which he had promised to pay, but had stopped taking calls or answering SMSes after the wedding.
Mann said that when he received no payment after the wedding, his attorney, David Vlcek, had issued a letter of demand in November last year.
Mann said he had also received an SMS from Zuma, which said: “I don’t deny owing money but it’s a matter of when to pay…”
Zuma’s attorneys, SP Mncwango and Associates, had responded in December, acknowledging the outstanding amount and asking that Zuma be given until the end of January 2012 to pay in full.
Mann said he had acceded to Zuma’s request and his attorney had sent a letter confirming that payment should be made by midnight on January 31.
He said his company was now under severe financial pressure.
“There are demands being made by suppliers, which has arisen from the respondent’s shocking conduct,” he said.
When contacted for comment yesterday, Zuma questioned who had given his cellphone number to the reporter and ended the call.
Mncwango said he did not want to comment on the matter.