Jacob Zuma, the newly elected president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), was at the centre of renewed controversy yesterday after accepting an invitation to address a “blacks-only” meeting of South African journalists.
Mr Zuma, who is in line to become the country's next president in 2009, said that he saw nothing wrong in the decision by the Forum of Black Journalists (FBJ) not to allow any white journalists, including those known to be favourable to the ANC, to attend a luncheon at which he was the guest speaker.
Three well-known white journalists who tried to attend were asked to leave. The incident has infuriated many South Africans, of all races, who fear that it is a sign of Mr Zuma's intentions if he succeeds to the presidency when Thabo Mbeki steps down. Mr Zuma, who currently faces corruption charges, was elected ANC president in a bitterly fought contest last year.