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South African president apologises over illegitimate son

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-02-07

President Jacob Zuma on Saturday said he regretted the "pain" over a love-child, the latest sex scandal to haunt him. Zuma, who has three current wives, said the matter had put a lot of pressure on his family and the ruling African National Congress.

AFP - South Africa's polygamous President Jacob Zuma on Saturday said he regretted the "pain" over a love-child, the latest sex scandal to haunt him.

Zuma, who has three current wives, said the matter had put a lot of pressure on his family and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after it was reported in local media last Sunday.

"I deeply regret the pain that I have caused to my family, the ANC, the alliance and South Africans in general," Zuma said in a statement, referring also to his party's alliance partners.

"I also acknowledge and understand the reaction of many South Africans," he said.

The baby girl, born in October to the daughter of a top organiser of the 2010 World Cup, is the 20th child to be fathered by Zuma.

Opposition parties denounced his behaviour, accusing Zuma of violating his own government's message on safe sex in one of the world's worst affected AIDS societies.

Zuma acknowledged the child this week amid intense media scrutiny.

"I reiterate that I took responsibility for my actions towards the family concerned and the child," Zuma said on Saturday.

Zuma's new baby is just the latest scandal to erupt around the president's sex life.

In 2006, he was accused of raping an HIV-positive woman. Although acquitted, Zuma admitted to having sex without a condom, and then said he had showered to ward off the risk of HIV. He was the head of the National AIDS Council at the time.

Zuma's private life was in the headlines last month when he defended polygamy before a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Zuma, who has been married a total of five times including his latest marriage last month, dismissed that polygamy was inherently unfair to women and said that those who think their culture is "superior" have a problem.

 

Date created : 2010-02-06

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