ANC goes to court over Zuma painting

By Drum Digital
17 May 2012

The ANC will go to court on Tuesday to try and stop the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and the City Press newspaper from displaying a painting of President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The African National Congress's urgent court application will be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg.

It served the gallery and the City Press with court papers of Friday.

"These court papers are seeking to interdict both parties from displaying and exhibiting on their website or any other platform including the online channels the offensive and distasteful so-called portrait," ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

The 1.85m-high painting titled "The Spear" is part of Cape Town artist Brett Murray's "Hail to the Thief II" exhibition at the Goodman Gallery.

The ANC sent the gallery a lawyers letter asking it to remove the painting, but the gallery refused saying that the picture would stay until the show was over.

The ANC also wanted the City Press to remove the picture from its website, but it also refused and said it would leave this to a court to decide.

On Monday, the ANC called on its members to gather at the court to show their support for Zuma.

"The African National Congress calls on all its members... to defend the dignity, reputation and integrity of the President of the ANC and of South Africa.

"Members of the ANC, supporters and the mass democratic movement structures are requested to converge at Kruis Street, in Johannesburg as from 10am as an act of solidarity to the president and the ANC."

The painting has been widely condemned by, among others, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, the presidency and the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

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