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Has Jacob Zuma's state visit improved his credibility?

11:16 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma is returning after a three-day state visit to the UK. Has the visit helped restore his image?

The president, a practising polygamist, and his third wife, Thobeka Madiba Zuma, attended a state banquet hosted by the Queen, met with political leaders and toured the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

Mr Zuma is hoping the visit will have boosted his credibility in the face of criticism and bad press at home for personal scandals.

What do you think of President Zuma? Has Mr Zuma's visit to Britain had any impact on his popularity in South Africa? Was the visit a success?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Restore what image? The only image I've gleaned about President Zuma is from the media and it is pretty sleazy. However, as I don't live in S. Africa perhaps I am being unkind. He is probably a terribly nice bloke.

  • Comment number 2.

    Zuma is just another African leader blaming there ex-imperial colonists to deflect the attention away from there mishandling of there country.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sounds quite simple - have a problem at home - take a holiday and problem fixed. Its not who you mix with that matters its how you behave isnt it??

  • Comment number 4.

    What credibility?

    SA seems to have squandered its post-apartheid legacy, and its support for Mugabe bodes ill for the future.

    I can't help thinking that many, in SA and beyond, are disappointed by the way things have turned out, and blaming all the problems on the legacy of apartheid is wearing a bit thin.

  • Comment number 5.

    He should not have been allowed entry into the UK...........FULL STOP!

  • Comment number 6.

    A big NO; He is not in touch with the real issues facing South Africans; poverty, crime, HIV, corruption. We fete, wine and dine him and while his country is suffering as is Zimbabwe. A huge shame and sham.

  • Comment number 7.

    I can't see how dining and sleeping at Buckingham Palace, with the Queen as his host, will boost his image in South Africa.
    With regards to his image in the UK, he is certainly an improvement on Thabo Mbeki.

  • Comment number 8.

    The BBC is supposed to be the envoy of broadcasting with a reputation for good reporting and integrity.

    Why is the reporter that wrote the article not aware of the impact of stating “Britain and South Africa approach the Zimbabwe issue from different perspectives - Britain, and the rest of the EU, want sanctions retained for now; South Africa wants them lifted?”. The sanctions are not against Zimbabwe but targeted individuals.

    It is standard understanding of most that sanctions are used against nations. Whereas the fact is that sanctions in Zimbabwe have been targeted at the power base, Army and top ZANU PF officials. In an attempt to bring some leverage to force some educated leadership and compromises worthy of true leadership. It should be realised that ZANU PF has no regard for the ordinary Zimbabwean, only their own supporters. Clearly they are prepared to rape and pillage to stay in power and have stated when confronted with the predicted death of thousands that “as long as it was opposition supporters”; they politicised food aid, denying aid to non ZANU PF supporters.

    Zimbabwe’s hey days the 80 and 90s were when aid was in the most part used to invest in land for landless, education and health and positive investments. Since the ZANU PF government has a blatant disregard for the international community how can you be sure that any money the international community invests now will be used wisely.

    Is South Africa going to put its money where it s mouth is and pay for the rebuilding of Zimbabwe when it gets a legitimate governmentand the Army does not rule the count; only plunder its wealth like they did in the Congo for personal gain? Are they even investing now?

    Propaganda is a major part of politics and it is to the likes of the BBC people look for the truth. Many Zimbabweans, thanks to the Herald, will not know that sanctions are targeted and most non Zimbabweans will not be aware of this. Your reporter has to think of the implications of their articles people are taking big risks even dying in Zimbabwe trying to get a fairer future for all, they deserve the little chance they have of success.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think these visits are largely ceremonial, but despite what we think of the controversy around his leadership and the appalling state of affairs in South Africa, this does represent an opportunity where diplomats can exchange views and provide whatever help and advice might be appropriate, whether it is taken or not. The important thing is that we are not seen to endorse this man too uncritically as we may have done in the past with other leaders.

  • Comment number 10.

    Little can be gained from alienating African leaders so yes, I think the treatment he is receiving on this state visit is acceptable. He has different cultural beliefs to most of the UK population (and most white South Africans I imagine) but that does not necessarily make him a leader without any credibility.

    He is a hugely influential person in South Africa for the majority of the population and if the UK want to have any influence on his stance with Mugabe and other affairs in Southern Africa, then he must not befriended and respected (for the time being....).

  • Comment number 11.

    The South African government as a whole will only improve their credibility when they take serious measures to address issues at home such as HIV and when they show willingness to sort out their own backyard i.e. Zimbabwe.

  • Comment number 12.

    I don’t care how Jacob Zuma organizes his private life.
    Apparently, the UK doesn’t either; after all, Jacob Zuma will meet with political leaders and attend a state banquet hosted by the Queen. If the Queen is not offended….
    South Africa’s traditions allow benefits to polygamous unions e.g. inheritance rights for children.
    Jacob Zuma is not a closet polygamist, carrying on secretive affairs. He supports his wives and his several children.
    Sometimes, I think that the world cares about his polygamy because it doesn’t want to confront his socialism. His support comes from trade unions and from the Communist Party of South Africa. He believes in redistribution of wealth. This is a hard position to take when you also need to encourage foreign investment.
    Jacob Zuma is likely in the UK to encourage the EU (and indirectly the US) to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe. I agree with this; sanctions only serve to pressurize the power-sharing in Zimbabwe.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Mr Zuma is hoping the visit will boost his credibility in the face of criticism and bad press at home for personal scandals."
    The guy's a thug. He'll be dining with the Queen whilst the 'old boy network' sets up some lucrative deal or other with S.A. There'll probably be a few quid in it for him, too.

  • Comment number 14.

    A few links for further context...

    The South African Times newspaper (no relation to the British namesake) reports on remarks that Jacob Zuma has made about how he sees some British attitudes towards South Africans.

    Here's the piece in the UK Guardian in which Michael White refers to president Zuma's "colourful CV".

    If you spot any thoughtful analysis, please do post the link.

  • Comment number 15.

    "The British have done that before (look down on Africans), as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it's an unfortunate thing," Zuma said

    What Mr Zuma seems to overlook is that Britain doesn't look down on the people of SA or Zimbabwe, but we do look on in amazement at the leaders of those countries, and others in Africa. Zuma & Mugabe sit in their self built ivory towers and have lost all idea of what it is like for their people to live in the townships and villages. Mugabe destroyed a prosperous country and SA stood by and never openly criticised him, HIV/aids is rife in both countries and there are no guidelines for clinicians or the ordinary man on the way to deal with this problem. Both countries have been free from colonial involvement for many years but still they want to blame everyone but themselves for whatever is happening at any given moment. The leaders are too busy trying to look like 'a prosperous leader' to take any real care for their own people. It is time Zuma, Mugabe, and other African leaders took responsibility for their own actions, people and future instead of holding out their hands for aid, taking it, then biting that hand.

  • Comment number 16.

    10 Revrac

    "He is a hugely influential person in South Africa for the majority of the population and if the UK want to have any influence on his stance with Mugabe and other affairs in Southern Africa, then he must not befriended and respected (for the time being....)."

    Maybe that's the crux of the issue. DOES the UK actually want to have any influence in, or even connection with, Southern Africa, or Africa in general?

    I only really hear hostility towards the continent. Our role there, such as it is, is based on historical, imperialistic, connections, which most Brits nowadays have no real affinity with.

    To my mind, we should leave Africa to itself, and focus on our relations with countries which we do have something in common with.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think people are just so obssessed about president zuma for nothing, the main point in the uk is for international relations and to those who are not living in south africa i think they just have to stuff and keep to themselves whatever's bothering them, because i mean they know zipp, nada, nothing about our president's private life, i'm not saying this just because its my president, but because its unthinkable for a person living in Europe to say whatever he likes about zuma, that's Bull!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I would like the Queen to more discerning about who invites to spend days and nights at the palace.

  • Comment number 19.

    I understand that Zuma suffers from a reputation for sleaze ,dishonesty,duplicity and it is reported corruption.He will be made quite at home by many of the senior Parliamentarians in Britain.There will no doubt be much of mutual interest,sympathy and empathy beteween them.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    The only thing that concerns me is how much is this going to cost me and the rest of the UK taxpayers because you can bet the begging bowl is at the ready and Gordon has got his cheque book out

  • Comment number 22.

    I hope that the visit (State) to the United Kingdom by Jacob Zuma will improve his credibility in his own country and, also, around the world.

    (D)

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    My instinctive reaction is that he rates in the same bucket as Berlusconi - one with all the rubbish in it!
    Pity as he represents South Africa - but we have Brown, so can we talk?!!

  • Comment number 25.

    You can't restore something you never had. His country is a shambles and he's swanning around acting like he's someone important. He's a fool and a disgrace; I feel sorry for Queen having to meet these people.

  • Comment number 26.

    "The British have done that before (look down on Africans), as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it's an unfortunate thing," Zuma said...
    The British alone did not colonise South Africa, nor did the British sell their own people into slavery, nor rip out irrigation systems for scrap on freshly-acquired, formerly productive farms. South Africa'a agricultural production is in decline; whose fault is that? Blaming 'colonialists' for South Africa's high crime rate, widespread drug use, HIV/Aids epedemic and sexual violence and squalid townships is nice and convenient. 16 years after the end of apartheid, way too many people are living a poverty-stricken existance in unsanitary conditions. Is that the fault of the British, too?

  • Comment number 27.

    Who are we to say that what he is doing is unacceptable? I mean in his culture polygamy is acceptable... so as long as his peers in his culture are ok with it then so be it.

    Isnt this is just the typical Western arrogant "we are better more civilised" attitude which spread the European empires for the last 3 centuries?

  • Comment number 28.

    Credibility is not a fixed value, but relative. We should view Mr Zuma within the context of historical perspectives regarding Britain, Africa and the Zulu. Within that context the visit has a positive value.
    If Mr Zuma adresses parliament he will be talking to a large group who have no credibility whatsoever.

  • Comment number 29.

    A leopard cannot change its spots. This is so apt. President Zuma has considerable failings but has evidently positive points too! Otherwise he would not have been elected President. If he is able to concentrate on governing South Africa sensibly, trying to follow the exemplary standards of Nelson Mandela, he could scrape through. It is up to the citizens of South Africa to judge his moral behaviour. If they can accept him there is little the rest of the world could do about that. As head of state he has been accorded a warm welcome by the Queen. She has been very gracious and President Zuma would treasure these moments as he loves to hug the limelight.

  • Comment number 30.

    Can pigs fly??? What credibility?? What image???

  • Comment number 31.

    Well, just more talk and no action!
    Every day people are dieing in the country of hunger or Killed.
    By the time somebody is gona do anything about this nothing is gona be left of the country accept for Mugabe and his fat cat generals.The sanctions against Zimbawe is evecting the people of Zimbabwe only, not the goverment!
    When the problem(Mugabe) is resolved, things will get better in South Africa as all their people are fleeing over the borders to escape poverty and mind you I dont blame them.

  • Comment number 32.

    A lousy politician and a lousy leader who is leading South Africa into poverty. What a waste of money!

  • Comment number 33.

    We've put together a picture gallery of the latest pictures of President Zuma's visit.

  • Comment number 34.

    From what I can see, like Mugabe, Zuma shows that there is a long way to go to achieve real democracy in many African countries.

  • Comment number 35.

    In response to Douglas Wood's point on the BBC's "integrity", the sanctions are aimed at the people who (essentially) represent Zimbabwe. Sadly, not many powerful decisions are being made these days without Mugabe's invovlement (even after the so called "power sharing" agreement). Sadly, also, Mugabe is the face of Zimbabwe and where he (is allowed) to appear abroad, he carries the image of his nation on his shoulders. I do not think the BBC is compromising any journalistic principles in stating this and I think it's a bit dramatic of you to state they are placing people's lives in danger. When I was growing up in SA in the 80's there were many sanctions in place against us as a nation and whether it was in place against certain people or not, individuals still died at the end of the day. In these type of regimes it is almost inevitable.

    Then, in response to all the comments regarding Zuma's private life and culture and the west needing to respect this: I have to point out that as an elected leader you would expect him to take his position seriously. By this I mean to take responsibility for his actions, to be a leader but most importantly to be an example. He is someone who was awaiting trial before he became president. He was never given the chance to clear his name. In many ways he had much ground to cover before taking office. Mandela grew up in the same culture as he but did not choose to exercise Polygamy. Of course this is every individual's own choice but Zuma seems to be going at this a 110% during a time when the world's eyes are still very focused on SA's progress. Every wife, every house, every child, every security guard is costing the tax payer's money. Where do you draw the line? Where does your country and it's needs begin to take 1st place? Surely Zuma lives to serve South Africa and not the other way around. The World cup awaits, hotly on the heels of the much publisized power failures of Eskom. We have journalistic programs pouring into the most deprived communities outside Johannesburg and Cape Town to illustrate the crime, the poverty that still exists. The latest election was hardly a mystery, the ANC's win was a guarantee. The real uncertainty was whether or not they gained two third's majority which they didn't thanks to the Western Cape. Investors are watching the ANC's youth league closely, as more and more calls for nationalisation of the mining sector begin to emerge. We are now, more than ever, in the spotlight and as a result those that we elect, need to represent us and act in the best possible manner more so than ever before.

  • Comment number 36.

    17

    "its unthinkable for a person living in Europe to say whatever he likes about zuma, that's Bull!!"

    Why shouldn't we? That's not the way things operate in the developed world. A healthy disrepect for politicians works wonders.

    And people in the rest of the world don't seem to feel any inhibitions when talking about us and our politicians, do they?

  • Comment number 37.

    I fear that SA will descend into chaos after Mandela pass away, Zuma appears a bit of a clown (ala Mugabe). I hope I am wrong, as SA is a great country

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    What image? Come on...

    ps. restore the HYS, please. This is useless.

  • Comment number 40.

    I dont think the President visit to UK is about reshaping his image or prove his credibility. The focal point for the president should be,strengthening economic ties with British, secondly,learning the viable measures that he can take to address rampant corruption in his country (under his administration), escalating crime and dire poverty that Most South Africans are trapped in. He shouldn't be about personal image but how can South Africans benefit from his trip in UK. His image will not put food on the table nor facilitate the economic growth but what might be his paramount concern;What can South Africans reap from British trade relations, what can South Africa learn from British as a developed state in terms of Transparency, accountability for his government is characterised by wave of protest.The question that British should ask him is ''Why some townships of South Africa are battle of Protest?

  • Comment number 41.

    It doesn't reflect well on him if he's having to use state visits to prop up his battered personal image. I'm pretty sure that's not what these visits are supposed to be for.

  • Comment number 42.

    @post 39
    Well said!

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    I can't see that visiting an unelected head of state who gets to decide how much tax they choose to pay, and who doesn't have to worry about expenses scandals or flipping second homes as they are all paid for by the public anyway is going to do much for his or anyone's democratic image.

  • Comment number 45.

    Here in South Africa, President Zuma's cedibility will always be high for the majority of the population, who sycophantically idolise him almost on their knees. This is because there is no doubt that he is considered by most to be an amiable person that promises the world to everyone he meets. Promises that he cannot always keep. The ladies in South Africa adore the man and that is not being said in jest.
    However,there are millions of people, mostly white, who cannot stand and have absolutely no respect for Zuma. To those commentators that will say that those whites in South Africa that disrespect Zuma, are racist, should consider that those same whites openly adore Mandela.
    Many South Africans are appalled that just before becoming the state president, 783 allegations of corruption against Zuma were withdrawn by the acting head of the prosecution authority [even though he stated that there was a strong winnable case against Zuma] for the flimsy reason that there had been a political conspiracy by two ex members of his department. The two have never been charged and all those that were involved with withdrawing the charges have seemingly been rewarded by Zuma in some form or other.
    No.-Zuma's credibility and respectibility in South Africa can only be restored, if he attends and proves his innocence in court, of the 783 allegations of corruption he still has to answer for. Zuma's love life and polygamous lifestyle is only second to that.

  • Comment number 46.

    Bet Prince Philip found it hard to keep his mouth shut. Milliband as welcoming committee would have been sufficient for this guy, or is there something in it for Gordon Brown, hence the over the top welcome ? We hardly need to hang out the bunting for Mugabe's best friend.

  • Comment number 47.

    A Total non-issue, Zuma's rep was there before his Election to SA's Presidency. Big diff between him and many of his critics, is that Pres Zuma is not Hypocritical about his sex-life.

    It's not as if UK is a model for Morality or Ethics. Put your house in order first.

  • Comment number 48.

    "President Zuma is a proper African man with very diffrent customs' and values , that many people in the the U.K would not understand, corruption and fighting for power is part of life in many parts of Africa without the vote, and with the army or armed gangs in control The people have no choice, but to support the strongest man. The only people who can stop this Happening are all the educated Africans who live and work in The U.K.and Europe and The U.S.A. Without them most parts of Africa will never make lasting progress.

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't know Mr Zuma, so I cannot comment on him.
    I cannot see how visiting the UK would do any good for his reputation at all! He should be at home working hard to fulfill his oaths of office.

  • Comment number 50.

    President Zuma is just a colourful person with many wives and a rainbow personality. The personal life is personal till the offical life is running fine as nothing succeeds like success. If Mr.Zuma can get all his countries problems solved he is the King and can lead any form of personal life as per his liking. No need of vications in UK just focus on solving official problems and everything is fine.

  • Comment number 51.

    So far Comrade Jacob Zuma has done no blaming of colonialism, apartheid or anything else and while this country had negative growth over the last four quarters, South Africa saw growth of 2.3%.

    South Africa is far from perfect and crime is a huge problem, but Comrade Zuma has instituted a shoot to kill policy on criminals and there is a legacy of violence in the country which Britain as a colonial power turned her head the other way too and ignored what was going on after World War II.

    Of course everyone jumps on the Zimbabwe bandwagon and again Britain knew that Mugabe stole the election in 1980 and did nothing about it, because they believed they could control him, much like a chap in the Middle East called Saddam Hussain.

    Of course his most serious alleged crime is that he is living according to traditional Zulu custom. As a South African I don't condone it, but neither do I condemn it. I believe that it is his right to live as he wants to and would expect him to offer the same acceptance of my choice of lifestyle, whatever that may be. The media of late has been dominated by two footballers who think fidelity is a security company and yet people have the audacity to condemn Comrade Zuma for following his traditional custom.

    People feel sorry for the Queen having to meet these people. She also has to meet Gordon Gimmick every week and listen to his rubbish, so perhaps Comrade Zuma will be a welcome distraction.

    It is so easy to condemn and so difficult to show tolerance of other cultures. Multi cultural Britain, what a joke.

  • Comment number 52.

    President Zuma? An African politico? Why is he here? To help himself? Says miles more than the tame press here!

    Why do we care, if in their culture they accept polygamy? It is their culture!

    We must lose the “Empire” mode of thought – teaching the little black people to be better.

    They have the right to a culture as much as us! As we have the “right” for unemployed yoof to father 8 children with different mothers and pay nothing! Who’s culture ensures the child?

  • Comment number 53.

    How can Jacob Zuma restore his 'credibilty' lost over a period by a three day visit to a country whose political leadership has also lost it's own credibilty before the elections.Even a successful staging football WC 2010 in SA may not restore his credibilty.

  • Comment number 54.

    I do not think that we should make such a Royal fuss with such a man.
    H has a lot to do to prove that he is any good.

  • Comment number 55.

    I Must admit im not really interested in his vist... Can't understand why he here. Normally African leaders only come to vist western leaders when they want someting like money.
    Or am I being cynical.

    In most cases they have always blamed the west for all there problems and all the leaders seem to do is buy guns and kill there own people.
    Or am I being cynical

  • Comment number 56.

    I do not think that his visit will restore his credibility...This is nonsense! if a "visit" can restore credibilities, images then there is no word to say! To me, Even hoping this is also a big mistake!. Let us not encourage people who are not just credible, by posting comments which support such men's visits.

  • Comment number 57.

    Zuma, let’s not be PC, we all his history. As for Buckingham Palace and the “dignity” of the Royal household? It has lowered itself before and will again, remember Nicolae and Elana Ceausescu? The Royal household have always had to “prostituted” themselves for the needs of British interests abroad. Morality, humanity these matters are of no consequence.
    Ask the “puka puka” chaps in the Foreign Office. Attila the Hun could be a quest in Buckingham Palace if it serves the needs of “British interests” abroad. But who decides on “British interests”? Commerce and Banking and the “chaps” in the Foreign Office are a mere appendage, who will in time enjoy the fruits and gratuities of their “labours”.

  • Comment number 58.

    I cannot find any revelance with Zuma's visit to UK and his sex-life. Unless of-course, the presumption is, His Morality will be lifted by Exposure to UK's dominant psyche of Fidelity.

    Pres Zuma was probably invited to negotiate how he could sell-out his country for Ex-Sir Robert Mugabe's Knighthood. Despo times make for Despo actions.

  • Comment number 59.

    'Devil at home, a saint abroad' that about sums up South African Prez Jacob Zuma. He is on an all-paid vacation in UK while SA burns with death and disease, hunger and unemployment reeling in poverty. What a way to distract attention from the ailing African economy !

  • Comment number 60.

    Trust and credibility are built over a very long period of time. One state visit cannot change that.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 63.

    My first thought is that, we, the 'educated', 'civilised' west are deciding that the man is wrong because his culture allows polygamy. We have no right whatsoever to differentiate or discriminate against this man for that. It is HIS culture.

    What he should be castigated for is that his country has not progressed at all with the abolition of apartheid. Health, corruption and crime are a shambles. The country is still a melting pot of antagonistic races and cultures and there have been no lessons learned from the time when not far away, the Zimbabwean Shona massacred thousands of Ndebele in the eighties.

    There is nowhere on the continent of Africa that I would ever really wish to go to, but certainly, not the south, where people like Zuma are in power.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm South African and was also initially a sceptic for Jacob Zuma, although over time I've begun to respect the man. For a politician he's refreshingly direct and concise, I've been surprised repeatedly by what he says, I also tend to agree with him on most issues, including the recent statements about colonisiation. My family originally arrived in SA on a steamship with the 1820 settlers, I can imagine what the Brits must have thought of the locals on arrival! But this is Africa, its not the West, and I don't believe we want to BE the West. Having lived in the UK and been around Europe I can tell you, the 'civilised west' is not all that great. Overcrowded, overpriced, most people live in tiny houses and freeze for half the year or more. THe finances are all in ruin, the countries in huge debt (Greece, America) Please tell me what's so civilised about that? My lifestyle over here is so good I can barely believe it, we have a little haven here from the bore of the Northern Hemisphere. You folk up North know nothing but what you see on Sky and the BBC! Get off your high horse please, turns out, it's not all that high.

  • Comment number 65.

    Most people in the UK know little of Mr Zuma and care less. I agree with what many have said above he is a bad choice of leader for this once great country. Zimbabwe ll on the way.

  • Comment number 66.

    What a joke! when is this monarchy going to stop embarrassing its people? State visits to accommodate Chinese rulers/dictators, African "leaders" - please dont tell me SA is a better place under people like Zuma and Mbeki?

    Why not invite Than Shwe, Mugabe, Kim Jung Il, and offer then the same 'hospitality' and an opportunity for credibility back home. Get off your lazy butt Queenie, go to Khayelitsha, Siyathemba, New Brighton and then tell me you think this narcissistic, corrupt, incompetent idiot is worthy of the attention and flattery you afford him??

    Shame on the monarchy (again) and shame on this government...but thats what we've come to expect from governance in the UK!

  • Comment number 67.

    Am I alone to believe that the visit will improve Zuma's credibility with some in South Africa at the expense of the loss of credibility of his hosts in the eyes of most others?
    Richard

  • Comment number 68.

    Mr Zuma is an incredibly bad example for anyone and thus would find it very difficult to improve his credibility. The only way, in my opinion, he can improve his credibility is to leave politics and let SA have credible leadership.

  • Comment number 69.

    Just another corrupt African leader, who the West will continue to throw money at, and his offshore accounts will continue to thrive,

    Until people realise that spending money on Development (Hello, wake up Bono)is a complete waste of taxpayers money, until the issue of corruption is addressed.

  • Comment number 70.

    Zuma is the most natural & consummate politician around. We must not begrudge him having as many wives as he likes provided he can afford them, after all, he is living up to the noble traditions of his tribe! He is straightforward & comes across as a force for good both for his country & the world.I wish many of his detractors have a fraction of his intelligence & humanity.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    This visit is irrelevant to Zuma's standing in S Africa. I assume he has the sense not to blame all Africa's ills on colonialism whilst he is here, but the temptation to take the easy way out will be too strong when he gets back. It's only when Mandela is gone that you really appreciate his greatness. All Zuma has to do to regain respect and admiration is to ensure that the World Cup is a triumph of organisation. It would be wonderful for him if an African country won it, but that's not going to happen. Still, making it work is probably going to be a severe enough test of his abilities. Good luck to him!

  • Comment number 73.

    Improve his credibility with whom?
    The world? - not really our business, why should we care?
    Our Government? - They'll know all there is to know anyway (and probably a bit more besides).
    The British people? - I'm not aware that he is going to address us, we're far too unimportant for him to spend the time doing that.
    One of the difficulties of international affairs and diplomacy is that you have to deal with whoever you've got.

  • Comment number 74.

    In reply to Richard; yes you are probably alone because you are probably totally mistaken.

  • Comment number 75.

    south africa is a troubled country that could turn into another zimbabwe overnight,nelson mandella brought south africa respectibility its present president jacob zuma is dragging it back into a nation ruled by tribal traditions and corruption,with rotating wives and rotating politics.

  • Comment number 76.

    I see our uninspiring leader has suggested that we all concntrate on the World Cup. Only he could suggest this amid all the problems that SA has. 'Lets concentrate on a competition that has long forgotten its fans in favour of corporate hospitality planted in the middle of a country who has masses of people at both extremes of the wealth' ... yes, very smart GB, perhaps you should realise the embarassment and heartcahe you have casued this country and crawl under that rock you should be calling home.

  • Comment number 77.

    It's day two of president Zuma's visit to the UK.

    The prime minister and the South African president have held a bi-laterial news conference at Downing Street where Zimbabwe was high on the agenda.

    The South African president re-iterated his point that lifting sanctions would help Zimbabwe's coalition government between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the MDC. The EU embargo targets senior figures in Mr Mugabe's inner circle and includes travel bans and asset freezes.

    How do you think Zimbabwe could be helped? Would the EU be right to lift sanctions?

  • Comment number 78.

    Zuma! Why should any country, least of all us, have any respect for this man when he is Mugabe's biggest protector?

  • Comment number 79.

    It has been so sad to have witnessed the gradual self-destruction of Zimbabwe under Mugabe, and now the same fate seems to hang over South Africa. Only the giant presence of Nelson Mandela acts as a brake on the ANC's headlong descent into economic and social chaos.
    Jacob Zuma enjoys enormous popularity as a "hero" of the ANC's anti-apartheid struggle, but has failed to make the transition into effective national leadership. Leaving aside the matter of polygamy, which is an accepted custom among Zulu chiefs anyway, it is difficult to ignore Zuma's record of corrupt practices and bizarre beliefs, particularly regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
    I cannot understand the British Government's motivation, in foisting this dreadful man upon the Queen.

  • Comment number 80.

    His credibility can only be judged on the way he conducts day to day running of his country. Is he doing things to improve his country and his peoples lives etc. Having dinner with the queen is not improving credibility. Having many wives is not a good sign as one could argue that he was no time to devout to his job - especially with 20 children.

    Anyway, it doesnt matter. Ultimately, the west controls Africa's fate. Slavery and colonialism in the past destroyed Africa. Nowadays, the influence is not so blatant. For example, we in the West sell arms to various African countrys and then report on and watch on tv the various conflicts whilst innocent people starve due to famine.

    Africa is not 100% to blame for its troubles. Due to past colonialsm and looting of its resources and people (slavery); the continent is forever reliant on economically better nations. This reliance is ensured by these other nations.

    This post is not going to get posted i dont think...

  • Comment number 81.

    He'd improve his image if he did not critise Britain for being imperialist.

    He needs to be more up to date.

  • Comment number 82.

    Mr. Zuma and his mate Mr. Mugabe are living proof that racism is not the exclusive preserve of caucasians.

  • Comment number 83.

    It is really up to the Queen who she meets and when..

    However the fact that Zuma, as President has (at least) 20 children says it all really.
    With this example to follow it's no wonder Africa is in a mess and unable to cope with supporting its own people..
    Until African leaders grasp the issue of population control and actively do something about it they'll get no sympathy or support from me...

  • Comment number 84.

    I'd have more respect for Zuma if he ousted Mugabe instead of supporting him so unconditionally. Zuma is just another in a line of African leaders who has overseen the degradation of rich countries into poor, crime ridden countries like South Africa is today. I lived in SA during the 70's and am apalled at the way the country is now. I remember talking to older africans then (yes we did talk to each other) and no one over 20 wanted a black government, they could see only too clearly what had happened to other african countries and appreciated what they had in SA (including free schools and healthcare). But as usual inexperienced and idealistic teenagers were used as canon fodder by ruthless people to gain their own ends.

  • Comment number 85.

    "What do you think should be the main focus of President Zuma's visit?"
    I see his visit purely as a way to boost his popularity - although just what he sees important about 'broken Britain' - is beyond me. I only hope he has not come for financial reasons - we are broke. I wonder how Ms Harman and the Equalities Commission will view his Polygamy? Or will they remain quiet on this one? - I expect so.

  • Comment number 86.

    Mr Zuma's lovelife is less questionable than his support for the Mugabe reign of terror next door. I believe he is here to request the lifting of sanctions. Yet just this week Mugabe has ordered all businesses to submit a plan for how they will be taken over by locals within a month, threatening to repeat for commerce what happenede to agriculture. We ought to be making an embarrassment of these foolish ideas, which are racist in idea and racist in effect upon the black population.

  • Comment number 87.

    What can you say about a leader when his favourite party piece was to sing 'the machine-gun song' to his followers?

    Just another African leader out to line his own and his followers pockets at the expense of the people and the country.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Until recently I grew up and lived in South Africa. Unfortunately South Africa will end up as the next Zimbabwe whilst Jacob Zuma is in power. He is a crook and a law unto his own. I would imagine he has an alternative agenda to his visit in the UK probably for his own gain. I am embarrassed to say I am South African.

  • Comment number 90.

    @70 Note that in Britain, wives are not purchased.
    Polygamy is illegal in the UK, it is an archaic practise which exploits women.


  • Comment number 91.

    "The British have done that before (look down on Africans), as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it's an unfortunate thing"
    It is very interesting that the former members of the British Empire in the Far East are some of the most sucessful economies in the world. The African ones started the decline as soon as the became independent. Despite this Africans claim this is caused by a nation who hasn't been in charge for over fifty years. Even the poorest Indian doesn't blame his poverty on George VI

  • Comment number 92.

    Personally, I felt sorry for Her Majesty, who was obviously told it would be appropriate and even advisable to receive and welcome with high honours this most embarrassing visitor.

  • Comment number 93.

    If he and South Africa cannot help in Forcing Mugabe out of Zimbabwe then perhaps its time they suffered some sanctions.

  • Comment number 94.

    To me Zuma visit to Britain will not repair or damage his reputation,because he is on a state visit, where his host are not going to ask him question about his private life,but on the international issues especially about Zimbabwe,asking for the lifting of saction will not be welcome in many arena.

  • Comment number 95.

    Tez wrote:
    "What do you think should be the main focus of President Zuma's visit?"
    I see his visit purely as a way to boost his popularity - although just what he sees important about 'broken Britain' - is beyond me. I only hope he has not come for financial reasons - we are broke. I wonder how Ms Harman and the Equalities Commission will view his Polygamy? Or will they remain quiet on this one? - I expect so.

    No problem there, Tez, All we need to do is print more money or 'Quantitative Easing' as they now call it. No wonder the pound dropped even further than the Zimbabwean currency at one stage this week.

  • Comment number 96.

    Jason (Post 66) cries shame upon the Queen and her government for welcoming Jacob Zuma to the UK and embarrassing the British people. Why? For doing their jobs? Surely, inclusion, discussion and dialogue offer the best opportunities for improvement and progress, NOT complete exclusion. Speak for yourself, Jason, neither the Queen nor the government embarrass me for doing their jobs, which on a diplomatic level, they do exceedingly well.

  • Comment number 97.

    thulaz wrote:
    "I think people are just so obssessed about president zuma"

    What obsession?

    "those who are not living in south africa i think they just have to stuff and keep to themselves whatever's bothering them"

    Pity your President doesn't follow your advice!!

    "its unthinkable for a person living in Europe to say whatever he likes about zuma"

    Clearly, Zuma doesn't feel the same way about his pronouncements on the rest of the world!

    Zuma is now merely an apologist for, and supporter of, that well-known democrat and "doer of good deeds", Robert Mugabe (that's irony, by the way).

    Zimbabwe gained independence 30 years ago: the UK has had little direct influence in SA since shortly after WW2. I know Labour continually blames 19 years of Tory rule to excuse their 13 years of incompetence but I think that leaders of ex-colonies blaming former colonial powers for a more than a generation of their own corruption, tribal blood-letting and discriminations smacks of more than a little hypocrisy.

    Quite simply, if Zuma rants, we are fully entitled to criticise. If Zuma wishes to honour his medieval traditions and customs: he has no justification for "dissing" ours.

  • Comment number 98.

    Shammi wrote:
    President Zuma is just a colourful person with many wives and a rainbow personality. The personal life is personal till the offical life is running fine as nothing succeeds like success. If Mr.Zuma can get all his countries problems solved he is the King and can lead any form of personal life as per his liking. No need of vications in UK just focus on solving official problems and everything is fine.

    So now we know what Gordon needs to do and everything will be hunky doory. Seriously though, watching our Queen and PM being dragged into the facade is quite sickening. I presume someone thinks this will go down well with a sizable part of our population.

  • Comment number 99.

    Jacob Zuma is not fit to run South Africa, I live in SA, he is the kind of leader that will say "Do as I say and not as I do", hence his child out of wedlock, amongst many of his indiscretions. He wants to sue the UK media,for what? Reporting the truth and telling it like it is. I just hope the rest of the world does not associate all South African's with this "man" for lack of a better word.

  • Comment number 100.

    After watching the new, I felt so sorry for our dear Queen. The people she has to entertain. Of course the government are the ones at fault for making it impossible for her not to entertain this dreadful man. I will only have any respect for South Africa and it's president when it stands up to the dictators ruining the lives of so many people in several African countries. Once upon a wonderful time, we would neve have entertained such people in this country.

 

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