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'Love-child' is mine, says South Africa's Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma (27 January 2010)
Jacob Zuma married his third wife in early January

South African President Jacob Zuma, who has three wives, has admitted fathering a child with the daughter of a football executive after days of speculation.

In a statement, he dismissed as "mischievous" criticism from activists who said his actions had undermined official HIV/Aids campaigns.

He said he had done all the "cultural imperatives" by formally acknowledging responsibility and paternity.

Mr Zuma, who has 19 children, is a Zulu, a group which practises polygamy.

'Sex-addict' gibe

The 67-year-old leader confirmed in a statement that he was having a relationship with Sonono Khoza - the 39-year-old daughter of World Cup official Irvin Khoza.

MRS JACOB ZUMA
Thobeka Madiba-Zuma at her wedding, 04/10
Thobeka Madiba-Zuma - married, January 2010 (above)
Nompumelelo Ntuli - married, January 2008
Sizakele Khumalo - married, 1973
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - divorced, 1998
Kate Mantsho Zuma - died, 2000

He said the matter was "intensely personal" but he had decided to make a public comment "after some careful deliberation".

"It is unfortunate that the individuals concerned have been unfairly subjected to harsh media exposure merely because of the position that I occupy," he said.

"I confirm that I have a relationship and a baby with Ms Sonono Khoza. I said during World Aids Day that we must all take personal responsibility for our actions. I have done so."

The allegation in weekend media reports that he had fathered the child led to a rash of negative publicity - one MP suggesting that he should seek treatment for "sex addiction".

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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