Another Zapiro cartoon offends

2010-01-15 13:47

The latest Zapiro cartoon in the Mail & Guardian has incensed

the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), who blasted it as

“distasteful” and “deplorable”.

The cartoon depicts President Jacob Zuma undoing his pants as

Eugene de Kock and Schabir Shaik hold down lady justice.

The infamous shower head sketched above Zuma is above the

president’s head and a speech bubble has Zuma saying: “Begging your


The cartoon relates to applications for a presidential pardon from

both De Kock and Shaik.

Numsa said the caricature “implants in the minds of the public”

that Zuma is a rapist despite being cleared of rape charges by a court of


“This venomous and personal hatred of President Zuma camouflaged as

an artistic skill by Zapiro is a sign of disrespect not only to President Zuma,

but to the office and the position he occupies in society as the fourth

democratically elected Head of State,” the union said in a statement.

“Whilst we respect and uphold the Constitution and freedom of

expression, it does not give cartoonists licence to undermine the fundamental

rights to dignity as guaranteed in the Constitution.”

It also described the cartoon as “reckless” in its depiction of a

woman about to be raped in a country wracked by violence and abuse against


Numsa demanded that the newspaper and Zapiro apologise to Zuma and

that the SA Human Rights Commission take action against the cartoonist.

The presidency confirmed that Zuma met Eugene de Kock, who has

served 14 years of a 212-year-sentence for apartheid-era atrocities, prompting

speculation that he is considering pardoning the former Vlakplaas commander,

nicknamed “Prime Evil”, as a political trade-off for a reprieve for Shaik.

Shaik was controversially granted medical parole last year after

serving two years and four months of a 15-year jail term for fraud and

corruption, relating in part to an alleged bribe he arranged between Zuma and a

French arms dealer.

The presidency this week confirmed it had received Shaik’s

application for pardon.

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