South African President Jacob Zuma says he deeply regrets the pain caused by an extramarital affair in which he fathered a child.

President Zuma issued a statement Saturday apologizing to his family, his ruling African National Congress party and all South Africans.

Mr. Zuma is a polygamist with three wives.  He said the scandal has put "a lot of pressure" on his family and his political party.

President Zuma acknowledged last week that he had fathered a girl born out of wedlock in October.

Critics accused the president of undermining the country's safe-sex campaign, a charge he has dismissed as "mischievous".

In Saturday's statement, President Zuma restated that he had taken responsibility for his actions and said he is committed to the importance of family as an institution.

The new baby was born about three months before the president married his third current wife.  He is also engaged to a fourth woman.

Polygamy is legal in South Africa, though it is practiced mostly by men from Mr. Zuma's Zulu tribe.

Some information  for this report provided by AFP.