The new president of South Africa is set to be inaugurated on Saturday at the Union Buildings, the nation’s governmental residence, accompanied by his three First Ladies.

Zuma, 67, invited Sizakele Khumalo, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Thobeka Mabhija to stand by his side on his big day.

Khumalo, 68, affectionately known as MaKhumalo, was his first wife whom he married in 1975 following his release from the apartheid regime's notorious Robben Island prison.

Ntuli, is more than 30 years his junior whom he wed last year in a traditional wedding.

Mabhija, is in her thirties and is reportedly his new bride to be.

While still married to his first wife, Khumalo, and serving the ANC in exile in the 1980s, Zuma took two other brides — Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, then a medical officer in paediatrics, and Kate Mantsho Zuma, then a Mozambican airline staffer.

He had four children with Dlamini-Zuma, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, but the couple divorced in June 1998 due to “irreconcilable differences”.

Zuma had five children with Kate, who committed suicide on December 8 2000 after apparent strained relations with her husband. Her tragic death gave the first real insight into a Zuma wife’s life. In a suicide note she handed the Rev Frank Chikane, Kate just about barred Zuma from her funeral.

The practice of polygamy is seen a normal part of the Zulu culture and indicates a man's social standing, wealth and virility.