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Zuma Shares SAfrica Spotlight With Cup

Tuesday, 08 Jun 2010 09:31 AM

Johannesburg, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma is once again testing his contention that South Africans make a distinction between political matters and his increasingly complicated private life. As the country prepares to welcome a global audience this week for the start of soccer's World Cup, the media are filled with allegations and gossip of messy affairs in the presidential family.

The storm this time centers around the polygamous Zuma's second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli, who reportedly became pregnant by her bodyguard. The unverified claims are based on an anonymous letter sent to a newspaper, possibly by Ntuli's rivals within the family.

Some observers say a pregnancy would explain a ceremony in April in which Ntuli reportedly gave a goat to Zuma's family, a traditional gesture to appease family elders who believed she had been unfaithful to him.

The bodyguard reportedly committed suicide.

Zuma has refused to correct or deny the rumors, instead criticizing what he says is a media obsession with his private life. But the swirl of speculation now centers on whether Zuma's family issues might spill into public during Friday's ceremonies to mark the World Cup opening.

Marriage to Ntuli has complicated Zuma's image. Other local reports say she assaulted a policeman and broke the security gates at the presidential guesthouse when Zuma informed her last December that he was taking a third wife. She's also been accused of accumulating bills in expensive boutiques that went unpaid for months, and of firing six servants, one of whom was suing for several months of alleged unpaid wages.

The latest reports fan the unease many South Africans feel about their polygamous, womanizing president, whose history of philandering is well-known.

There was widespread public outrage in February with news that Zuma, 67, had fathered a child out of wedlock with Sonono Khoza, 39, a marketing events manager at a bank and the daughter of Irvin Khoza, head of the Premier Soccer League and chairman of the World Cup local organizing committee.

Zuma initially underestimated the furor within his support base of conservative traditionalists over the birth of Khoza's child. Some days after the scandal broke, he apologized to the nation over the affair.

To read full Los Angeles Times story — Go Here Now.

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Johannesburg, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma is once again testing his contention that South Africans make a distinction between political matters and his increasingly complicated private life. As the country prepares to welcome a global audience this week for the start of soccer's World Cup
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2010-31-08
Tuesday, 08 Jun 2010 09:31 AM
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