Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

South Africa's Jacob Zuma survives no-confidence vote

South African President Jacob Zuma (file image)
President Zuma admits fathering a child out of wedlock

South African President Jacob Zuma has survived a vote of no-confidence called by opposition parties.

The vote - the first such move since the ANC came to power in 1994 - was defeated by 241 votes to 84 with eight abstentions.

The motion was called by the Congress of the People (Cope) and backed by the Democratic Alliance.

The vote follows an admission by President Zuma, who has three wives, that he has a child out of wedlock.

The ANC has a huge parliamentary majority.

Mr Zuma is in Zimbabwe, where he went to try to ease tensions in the fragile unity government. He is due to return to South Africa later.

President Zuma faced sharp criticism earlier this year after it emerged he had fathered a child with Sonono Khoza, 39, the daughter of local World Cup boss Irvin Khoza.

He was also accused of failing to declare his financial interests within the allotted timeframe.

'Let us down'

In proposing the motion, Cope leader Mvume Dandala told the National Assembly: "The president of our country has let us down. He has let Africa and the world down.

"It is common knowledge how the president has failed this nation by his repeated risky sexual behaviour, thus weakening the crucial fight against HIV/Aids and setting a poor example."

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, a veteran ANC member, dismissed the motion as "a frivolous waste of time".

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says although Mr Zuma easily survived the no-confidence vote, it should still serve as a harsh message to the president.

She says many people, even some of his core supporters, have already become disenchanted with him after just 10 months in office and he must work hard to regain his popularity.

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