JZ grilled at Press Club luncheon

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Jacob Zuma had to fend off tough and often hostile questions yesterday during a heated question-and-answer session at a Cape Town Press Club lunch.

The ANC deputy president also had to contend with intermittent booing and laughter when answering questions from journalists and club members.

Marilyn Keegan, who runs an HIV-Aids programme, raised the question of Zuma having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.

"How can we believe anything you say?" asked Keegan.

Clearly uncomfortable, Zuma responded that it was up to every individual to decide whether to believe him or not.

Zuma defended his legal action against a number of media houses, accusing journalists of finding him guilty before the court had done so. He said he was not doing it for money. He said some of the reports were not reporting, but opinion.

However, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known as Zapiro, would not accept Zuma's explanation. Shapiro said he was one of the people Zuma was suing and that he was not a reporter, but a satirist - and satire is allowed under South Africa's democratic constitution.

"It is not fair. You cannot abuse your freedoms like this, that's my view," said Zuma.

In response to questions about his relationship with Thabo Mbeki, Zuma said he regarded the president as a "comrade and friend". He said there was no rift between him and Mbeki.