Shembe leader retracts stoning

2012-06-16 00:00

IT WAS a case of eating humble pie yesterday for the Shembe leader who publicly stated “Spear” artist Brett Murray should be stoned to death.

Enoch Mthembu, the spokesperson for the Shembe church’s Thembezinhle faction, was forced to retract his inflammatory statement, after Murray’s lawyers secured an interdict against him for allegedly inciting violence.

Mthembu’s retraction, dated June 8, was made public yesterday after it was e-mailed to the Weekend Witness by Murray’s attorneys.

On his comments in The Times newspaper on May 22 that Murray must be stoned to death, Mthembu said: “I unequivocally retract this statement and its imputations.”

“I also confirm that the statements were made in my personal capacity and that I did not reflect the view of the Shembe church.

“Every person, including Mr Murray, deserves to have their right to life respected, and it was not my intention that people should act on my statement.”

In an interview with The Witness last month, Mthembu was defiant and said Murray should instead apologise to President Jacob Zuma and the entire country for insulting the country. “I was merely quoting the Bible when I said this artist should be stoned because, as far as I am concerned, this was an act of treason, and the Bible says those who do that should be stoned,” he said at the time.

Last night, Mthembu said he would only comment on the retraction on Monday.

However, in an apparent reference to The Spear painting, which depicted Zuma’s exposed genitals, he said: “I hate racism and any person who encourages or practises racism. I suffered because of racism which most people don’t understand. I was beaten by whites who wanted me to accept that I was a k****r. I was damaged.”

Murray’s lawyer, Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti, was not available for comment last night.

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