Jacob Zuma ‘deeply regrets pain’ over love-child

South African President Jacob Zuma has apologised for fathering a child with a woman who was not his wife.

“I deeply regret the pain that I have caused to my family, the ANC (African National Congress), the alliance and South Africans in general,” he said.

The daughter of a World Cup chief gave birth to a baby girl last year believed to have been fathered by Mr Zuma.

Mr Zuma, aged 67, is a Zulu, a group which practices polygamy. He has three actual wives and at least 19 children.

“I have over the past week taken time to consider and reflect on the issues relating to a relationship I had outside of wedlock,” Mr Zuma said in a statement, admitting that it “has been a subject of much public discussion and debate”.

“It has put a lot of pressure on my family and my organization, the African National Congress,” the statement said.

Earlier this week, the president confirmed that he was having a relationship with Sonono Khoza – the 39-year-old daughter of World Cup official Irvin Khoza.

He said the matter was “intensely personal” and dismissed as “mischievous” criticism from activists who said his actions had undermined official HIV/Aids campaigns.

Mr Zuma was praised last year when he announced major changes to the country’s Aids policy, which included increasing the roll-out of anti-retroviral drugs.

But opposition parties now say his behaviour contradicts the government’s stance on HIV prevention – preaching regular condom use and faithfulness to one partner.

South Africa has the highest number of HIV infections in the world – more than five million people.

This is not the first time that the president’s sex life has been under the spotlight.

In 2006, while being acquitted of rape, Mr Zuma admitted that he had made a mistake by having unprotected sex with a woman he knew to be HIV-positive.

Like Ms Khoza, the woman was also the daughter of a family friend.

Mr Zuma has been married five times in all, most recently in January, and is also engaged to another woman.

He has 19 children according to his office, but it is not clear if that includes the baby born last October.


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