ANC: Zuma affair is private

February 1, 2010 12:00 am

, JOHANNESBURG, Feb 1 – South Africa\’s ruling party on Monday dismissed a storm over President Jacob Zuma\\\’s lovechild, as political opponents told him to stop behaving like a \’gigolo\’ and get sex addiction therapy.

"Our view is that the matter between any two consenting adults remains their own personal affair," the African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement.

"This unjustified attack to the president is disingenuous. There is nothing wrong that the president had done. There is nothing \\\’shameful\\\’ when two adults have a relationship."

Opposition parties reacted angrily to a weekend media report that Zuma had fathered a child with the daughter of one of his close friends, a top organisor of the 2010 World Cup.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said Zuma had weakened the country\’s messages of safe sex.

"We believe President Zuma needs counselling and sex addiction therapy, as was recommended for Tiger Woods who has a similar problem of sleeping around."

"His personal behaviour has profound public consequences," said DA leader Helen Zille.

The girl, born in October, is the 20th to be fathered by 67-year-old Zuma who is a practising polygamist with three current wives, the Sunday Times reported.

The ANC breakaway Congress of the People (COPE) said the report was "scandalous" after Zuma\’s marriage last month, accusing him of "highly irresponsible" behaviour in one of the world\’s most AIDS affected countries.

"His continued use of African custom as a smokescreen is also no longer acceptable. Polygamy is not promiscuity and his behaviour is not justifiable under any circumstances," said leader Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota.

"The South African public must make its voice heard and tell President Zuma to start behaving like a president and not a gigolo."

The small African Christian Democratic Party accused Zuma of undermining South Africa\’s anti-AIDS fight and "increasingly unbecoming behavior that brings shame to our nation".

"A man who already has three wives living with him has no moral right to continue sleeping around with women he is not married to," said party leader Kenneth Meshoe.

The ANC said it did not see a link between the ANC\\\’s HIV policies and the Zuma\\\’s personal relationships.

Zuma\’s new baby is just the latest scandal to erupt around the president\\\’s sex life. In 2006, during a trial that acquitted him of rape, Zuma admitted to having sex without a condom and then said he had showered to ward off the risk of infection.

He was the head of the National AIDS Council at the time.


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