Jacob Zuma apologises for love child

Jacob Zuma apologises for love child

Mea culpa

Zuma, 67, had been accused of undermining the fight against Aids by having unprotected sex with the daughter of one of the football World Cup organisers.

Senior officials in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have also been furious with him for embarrassing the party and breaking a pledge he made after being elected as its leader in 2007 — “not to embarrass the ANC with other sexual revelations”.

Zuma said in a statement: “I have over the past week taken time to consider and reflect on the issues relating to a relationship I had outside of wedlock. “It has put a lot of pressure on my family and my organisation, the African National Congress. I deeply regret the pain that I have caused to my family, the ANC… and South Africans in general,” he added, reaffirming his commitment to “the importance of the family as an institution”. South Africa’s “Sunday Times” revealed last weekend that 39-year-old divorcee Sonono Khoza, the daughter of a football official, Irvin Khoza, gave birth to Zuma’s daughter in October.

Zuma, who married for the fifth time last month and also has a fiancee, confirmed the report on Tuesday but said the matter was “intensely personal” and dismissed as “mischievous” criticism from activists who said he had undermined official sexual health campaigns in a country with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV and Aids.

The president acknowledged paternity of the child and said he had made a traditional payment of damages to the Khoza family. Sonono Khoza’s father heads the local organising committee for the 2010 World Cup and reportedly told friends that he felt betrayed by Zuma’s relationship with his daughter.

Zuma’s sex life has come under the spotlight in the past. After being acquitted of rape in 2006, he admitted he had made a mistake by having unprotected sex with a woman he knew to be HIV-positive. But he was ridiculed for saying during the trial that he had left his bedroom after having sex  and taken a shower because this “would minimise the risk of contracting the disease (HIV)”.

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