President Zuma is a bad role model - statement by UDEMWO Secretary General (8 February 2010)

The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) had its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend to map the way towards the 2011 Local Government Elections. In line with the UDM’s Ascendancy Profile, UDEMWO has engaged in reorganising its branches to ready the women of the UDM for provincial and national congresses later in 2010.

The UDEMWO NEC criticised the sexual activities of President Zuma, saying his behaviour negates all the work that has been done to fight the scourge of HIV and Aids.

Mr Zuma is a role model by virtue of his office and, whether he likes it or not, his personal behaviour does impact on peoples’ perceptions of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not; some people will argue that if the President can have multiple affairs, so can they. Indeed, if the President can have unprotected sex, why can’t they?

President Zuma must realise that apologising, and/or taking showers, do not miraculously wipe the slate clean or undo the damage.

Could it be that Mr Zuma is the worst president of the new South Africa? We thought that Thabo Mbeki’s denialism was bad, but that was before we were saddled with a President that demonstrates zero concern for the dangers of HIV/Aids by having repeated unprotected sex with multiple partners.

An apology, after previous commitments and apologies were violated, is difficult to trust. An apology like that, which was only grudgingly made and days after initial dismissive defiance, simply does not appear sincere.