Churches slate Zuma's morals

2010-02-12 21:00

Johannesburg - The Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have criticised President Jacob Zuma and decried the use of culture to "defend bad moral behaviour".

The South African Catholic Bishops' Conference on Friday slated  Zuma and decried the use of culture to "defend bad moral behaviour.

The Archbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, said: “The [conference] expresses its strongest concern of the scandalous behaviour of leaders who shamelessly flout the norms of morality and decency, accepted and expected by the vast majority of people.

"We deplore the attempts to excuse or even defend bad moral behaviour in the name of 'culture'."

"While we note President Zuma's expression of regret for engaging in 'unprotected sex', we are nonetheless appalled that for the second time in as many years he does not express regret or show remorse for his adultery," said Napier.

The cardinal was "appalled" at the "irreparable damage" Zuma has done to the fight against the spread of HIV/ Aids.

"We call on all leaders to recommit themselves to being worthy role models for the youth and children of the nation," said Napier.

The Anglicans also called on southern Africa's leaders to curb greed and do more to fight poverty and corruption and support democracy.

The Anglicans say the faithful are wondering "who they can respect and look up to as role models in the political leadership of our nations."

Zuma has in past weeks been criticised for having a child out of wedlock.

He offered an apology to South Africans and his party, the African National Congress last week.

Zuma was criticised in 2006 when, during his rape trial and acquittal, he said that he had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.