Zuma sticks to his guns

2012-05-22 09:51

The argument that it is too late to fight the case against the Brett Murray portrait of President Jacob Zuma is similar to suggesting “that ... victims of rape should not complain about the violations they have suffered because doing so will lead to publication of their ordeal”.

This, according to a replying affidavit before court in the case in which Zuma and the ANC are attempting to force the Goodman Gallery and the City Press website to remove the painting, The Spear.

Lawyers for Zuma and the ANC, and those acting for the gallery and City Press, appeared before Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane today.

The case was postponed to Thursday when it will be heard by a full bench because of the “public importance of the matter”, the judge said.

In a replying affidavit before the court, Zuma says that the painting “has been a cause for personal offence and hurt and has been an insult to me as a person, a leader of the [ANC], and as the President of the Republic”.

“The portrayal has ridiculed and caused me humiliation and indignity,” he said.

Zuma denies the statement by gallery owner Liza Essers that the depiction of him references an “ongoing public discussion in society as to the relationship between political power and the sexuality that accompanies this power”.

This, Essers says, began with the sex scandals surrounding world leaders including US President Bill Clinton, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

But Zuma is having none of it.

“The imagery undoubtedly conveys a message that I have a propensity to lewdness. This imagery is a violation of my rights to dignity in all my capacities,” he said.

Zuma denies that he is trying to prescribe to the nation’s artists. He also says the gallery owner and art experts interpret art in a way which is informed by their own, mainly European, cultural biases. Zuma wants the court to declare the painting to be “an unlawful infringement of my dignity and that [Essers] seize (sic) to further display the image”. He also wants to stop any further publication of it. » Tell us what you think: Leave your comment below or comment on our Facebook page or on Twitter @City_Press » Did you know? City Press has an iPad app. Find us in the app store View the story "ANC goes to court over Zuma’s jewels" on Storify

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