Business Day (Johannesburg)

4 March 2010

South Africa: Of Pigs and Pens - JZ Visits Qe2

Photo: International Relations and Cooperation
President Zuma began the second day of his state visit with a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

editorial

Johannesburg — MANY thousands of South Africans gave their lives for the freedom of Britain in the two great wars of the last century. Britain is one of this country's main trading partners and the single biggest source of foreign tourists to our country. We have sporting links that go back more than a hundred years and South Africans have enriched English literature and science.

So it is appalling to have to witness the reception President Jacob Zuma has received on his state visit to the UK, from sections of the British media.

Zuma has been pilloried because of the chaotic state of his private life. But you would think British journalists would know better.

After all, wasn't it the last Conservative prime minister of that country who we now know was screwing one of his cabinet ministers while still in office? Wasn't it the heir to the British throne who told a woman over the telephone he wished he was one of her tampons? Wasn't it the British Parliament and the House of Lords that were hit last year with proof that dozens of British politicians had lied about their expenses and stolen money from the taxpaying public?

The British body politic is without peer when it comes to sex scandals and moral or financial hypocrisy and the sight of leading British newspapers having a go at Zuma for his lapses of virtue is sickening.

Zuma is being castigated for his polygamy but what if, as nearly happened, Mitt Romney, governor of the state of Massachusetts, had won the Republican nomination in 2008 and was now president of the US? He is a Mormon. It will happen one day. Those same British journalists insulting our president now would be licking the presidential boot if it was on an American foot.

Let us help you guys in Fleet Street with a little news. Life in SA, even under Zuma, is, trust us, a lot better than in the UK. Sure Zuma's imperfect. He may even be a lousy leader. But he's our lousy leader. We'll deal with him. When UK politicians visit here we'll be sure to treat them with respect.

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