Zuma art smear case postponed

2012-05-23 11:25

The trial of two men accused of vandalising a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed has been postponed in the Hillbrow Magistrates Court.

The matter was postponed to June 28 for further investigation.

Barend la Grange and Lowie Mabokela are accused of defacing the Brett Murray painting at the Goodman Gallery yesterday.

Both men’s bail of R1 000 was extended. They face charges of malicious damage to property.

The gallery where the controversial painting of Zuma is housed was temporarily closed to the public yesterday. It was still closed this morning.

Gallery owner Liza Essers said the move was prompted by numerous threats and the defacing incident.

The painting by Cape Town artist Brett Murray was defaced by two people visiting the gallery.

The South Gauteng High Court will hear an ANC application tomorrow to have the painting taken down.

A third person, George Moyo, was arrested for spraypainting on a wall outside the Goodman Gallery. He appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court earlier today.

Essers said the painting – “The Spear” – had generated a debate that clearly engaged with important legal and constitutional issues.

“I furthermore never imagined that this debate would transform into harmful physical action,” she said. “This is over and above questions of political power, which formed part of its original dialogue.”

The gallery said it had recognised how divided the country had become over the controversy the painting had sparked.

“We must take cognisance of all responses to our exhibitions, and do not value one opinion above another.”

The painting was defaced with red and black paint, obscuring the face and waist of the figure.

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