The president is home alone

Cecil Motsepe

Cecil Motsepe

President Kgalema Motlanthe is running the country - but each night when he goes home there is no wife to greet him, a number of sources independently told us.

"He sleeps alone, almost like a monk," a source close to the family said.

Ever since the ANC deputy president assumed the high office after the recall of Thabo Mbeki, Motlanthe has failed to present a first lady to the nation.

Sowetan can reveal that Motlanthe and his wife Mapula, a radiographer who used to work at the Leratong Hospital in Mogale City, have been estranged "for a long time" - before he became president last year.

"The two are no longer living together. They are having matrimonial problems. They have been separated for a while now," another source close to ANC leadership structures said.

The source went on: "He is a highly secretive person. He does not discuss his personal issues. Not even with close comrades."

Motlanthe's spokesman, Thabo Masebe, refused to discuss the matter.

"Remember that members of the president's family remain a private matter. They decide what kind of profile they can have," Masebe said.

Mapula lives in Midrand, Johannesburg, while Motlanthe lives in presidential residences in Pretoria and Cape Town.

"When people go to interview him he always ensures that he is the only one in the house. During his inauguration he made a point of it that his two daughters were kept in some office away from the public eye," the source said.

Efforts to reach Mapula were unsuccessful. Those closest to her declined to give out her contact details, saying she preferred to keep a low profile.