Zuma sorry after nation says: ZIP IT!

2010-02-07 10:23

PRESIDENT Jacob ­Zuma’s unprecedented apology to South Afri­cans,

his party and the tripartite alliance has come as he faces criticism of his

sexual be haviour.

“I deeply regret the pain that I have caused to my family, the ANC,

the alliance and South Africans in general,” Zuma said yesterday.

“I have over the past week taken time to consider and reflect on

the issues relating to a relationship I had outside of wedlock,” he said, saying

the week had put his family and the ANC under pressure.

Zuma received a massive national wake-up call this week after the

disclosure that he had just fathered ­another baby, possibly his 20th, by a

woman who is not his wife.

The president has been criticised by his staunchest ally, Cosatu’s

Zwelinzima Vavi, while his SA ­Communist Party faithful have not uttered a word

of support.

Support from the ANC Youth League was tepid, and while the ANC came

out guns blazing in support of Zuma’s “cultural rights” on Monday, it tempered

its position as the national atmosphere of disgust and opprobrium intensified.

A City Press survey of ANC national executive committee members

established that most of them were critical of Zuma’s behaviour, believing he

had lost his grip in the fight against HIV/Aids.

City Press went around the country this week – to the president’s

home in Nkandla and to the Eastern Cape, Cape Town, Free State, Mpumalanga and

Gauteng.

While Zuma has some support among those who say his private life

should remain private, on the whole the message from South Africans young and

old, male and female, ­rural and urban, to their president was: “Zip it, Mr

President.”


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