ANC president Jacob Zuma is going global in his legal battle against the media, writes Werner Swart in The Times.

Though his lawsuits against several media houses in South Africa have yet to be finalised, The Times has reliably learnt that the presidential frontrunner will this week institute legal action against British newspaper The Guardian.

Zuma in 2006 made defamation claims totalling tens of millions of rands against South African newspapers, a radio station and the popular cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known as “Zapiro”, over articles pertaining to his much-publicised rape trial, at which he was acquitted.

Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport has brokered an out-of-court settlement with Zuma.

The lawsuits against the former Sunday Times columnist David Bullard were withdrawn after Bullard apologised to Zuma.

The ANC president will now sue The Guardian over a column written by author Simon Jenkins in which Zuma is described as a ‘‘polygamous, leopard-skin-draped Zulu boss’’. Jenkins also describes Zuma as an ‘‘unschooled former terrorist, communist sympathiser and rabble-rouser’’.

Zuma has assembled a team of experts to deal with his defamation claims against the media.

Yesterday The Times learnt that Liesl Göttert, who has been acting as his spokeswoman on issues pertaining to his defamation suits, is in London to further the proceedings against The Guardian.

The Times also understands that Zuma has appointed a leading London legal firm that specialises in defamation suits.

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