Connect to share and comment

Zuma the babydaddy

President Zuma faces criticism for fathering a child with a woman who is not one of his three wives. A security minister's wife is arrested for drug trafficking. Nelson Mandela celebrates the 20th anniversary of political liberalization. South Africa opposes Gaddafi's unsuccessful bid for reelection as African Union chairman. The last of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes are scattered. Six airlines are investigated for raising prices for the World Cup. The debate over the privatization of mines continues. Plus, a factory in China that manufactures World Cup mascot figurines is investigated for exploiting workers.

Top News: President Jacob Zuma, bowing to public pressure, apologized to the nation, his party and his family for fathering a daughter with a woman who was not one of his three wives. Zuma has faced widespread criticism over his extramarital affair since revelations of a “love child” with Sonono Khoza, daughter of soccer boss Irwin Khoza, were reported last week by a South African newspaper.

Zuma, who is a polygamist, officially has 19 children and three wives (he has been married a total of five times), and is engaged to a fourth woman, but his affair with Khoza is considered to be against tradition. Opposition parties have accused him of undermining the official HIV/AIDS campaign and being a poor role model to a nation with the highest number of HIV infections in the world.

Sheryl Cwele, wife of South Africa’s state security minister, was arrested for drug trafficking in a high-profile case. Cwele, who has been granted bail, was allegedly linked by emails to South African drug mule Tessa Beetge, who is serving eight years in a Sao Paolo jail. Minister Siyabonga Cwele has distanced himself from his wife, and said he had no knowledge of her alleged drug dealings.

South Africa marked 20 years since the unbanning of political parties. Twenty years ago on February 2, former President FW de Klerk addressed South Africa’s parliament in a landmark speech that began the dismantling of apartheid. In his speech, de Klerk ended the ban on dissident political parties and announced the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Mandela celebrated the 20th anniversary with a special dinner at his home. Guests included one of his former warders, Christo Brand, with whom he had developed a special relationship, and ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi lost his bid to be re-elected as chairman of the African Union to Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika. South Africa was one of the main countries opposed to Gaddafi’s continued leadership of the AU and his plan to create a pan-African government to rule the continent.

The last remaining ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were scattered into the ocean off the coast of Durban, 62 years after the Indian independence leader’s death. Gandhi spent some of his formative years as a young lawyer in South Africa, where he became involved in the struggle against racial discrimination. After Gandhi’s assassination, his ashes were divided up and sent around the world.

Money: Toyota announced that it would recall vehicles manufactured and sold in South Africa, following similar moves in the US, Europe and Asia due to problems with accelerator pedals in American and European markets. The company said it was still investigating which vehicle models would be included in the recall in South Africa. 

South Africa’s Competition Commission began a probe into six airlines accused of colluding to raise ticket prices during the World Cup, which starts in June. The airlines include South African Airways, which has provided email evidence in exchange for lenience from prosecution, and Comair, which is a local partner of British Airways and has denied the accusations. FIFA has warned that fewer foreign fans than expected may attend the soccer championships, due in part to high flight prices.

South Africa’s mining minister calmed fears over the nationalization of the country’s mines, saying that it wouldn’t happen “in my lifetime.” Susan Shabangu’s comments at a mining conference in Cape Town were attacked by the militant African National Congress Youth League, which has pushed for a state takeover of the country’s natural resources. A public debate between the ANC Youth League – from which President Zuma draws support – and the government over the nationalization of South Africa’s most important industry has been ongoing since last year.

Elsewhere: FIFA’s master licensee, Global Brands Group, said it would investigate how a Chinese factory landed several major subcontracts for manufacturing figurines of South African World Cup mascot Zakumi, a dreadlocked leopard, after a British tabloid reported that workers at the factory were being exploited. The Chinese government has angrily denied accusations that the factory is a sweatshop. A South African news report linked a senior ANC member of parliament to the Chinese factory, fueling anger from the country’s trade union federation, Cosatu.

Meanwhile the ANC said that it was investigating whether the factory in Shanghai was also manufacturing a plastic Jacob Zuma doll.

After a nine-year hiatus, the Zimbabwe Open golf championships announced that it will rejoin the South African “Sunshine Tour” in April. The Zimbabwe Open was removed from the tour after the 2001 event when it failed to pay out foreign currency prize winnings within a prescribed amount of time.