‘I didn’t even see other accused’ – Goodman ‘vandal’

2012-05-23 08:17

Kempton Park businessman Barend la Grange says he didn’t even see his co-accused when Brett Murray’s controversial portrait of President Jacob Zuma was defaced yesterday.

La Grange and Louis Mabokela are due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court his morning for allegedly vandalising the painting of Zuma with his genitals exposed, by smearing paint on it.



At court, La Grange said he would explain his defacing of the portrait after appearing.

La Grange, who said he ran a family business with his sons, described himself as politically independent.

“I’m not an ANC member or any political party or organisation, left or rightwing,” he said.

La Grange said he did not know Mabokela.

“I didn’t even see him,” he said, describing their encounter at the Goodman Gallery yesterday.

Mabokela has refused to comment and the investigating officer in the case has taken him for questioning in one of the court rooms.

Meanwhile the Goodman Gallery has closed temporarily because it fears for the safety of the gallery, its staff and visitors.

Said gallery owner Liza Essers: “The painting has generated a debate that clearly engages with important legal and constitutional issues. This is over and above questions of political power, which formed part of its original dialogue.

“The extent of the rage has astonished me and upset me very much. I furthermore never imagined that this debate would transform into harmful physical action.”



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