Cops want The Spear as evidence

2012-05-22 15:53

Johannesburg - The Goodman Gallery's owner and police are discussing whether a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma can be removed, to be used as evidence, after it was vandalised on Tuesday, the gallery's lawyer says.

"The gallery owner and police are discussing whether the gallery will allow the painting to be taken away and that point is under negotiation at the moment," said the gallery's lawyer, Greg Palmer.

Earlier on Tuesday, two men allegedly defaced the painting, The Spear, by Cape Town artist Brett Murray, with red and black paint, obscuring the face and waist of the figure.

A third man was arrested for apparently trying to spray the word "respect" on a wall of the gallery but just got as far as "res" before being caught.

Police spokesperson Colonel Vishnu Naidoo confirmed the arrests in a statement.

"The two men, 58 and 25 years of age, allegedly made crosses with red paint and smeared black paint respectively on the portrait."

Earlier, the gallery's lawyer said the second person was believed to be a 15-year-old.

The arrests came within an hour of the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg setting down an application by the ANC to have the painting removed from the gallery for hearing by a full bench on Thursday morning.

The application had just been postponed when word spread that the painting, part of Murray's exhibition Hail to the Thief II, had been defaced.

In slow motion

Iman Rappetti, eNews channel anchor, was in the Goodman Gallery close to the painting when a man took out a pot of paint and marked an X in the genital area of the portrait.

"It was surreal."

Rappetti described the man as completely "ordinary" wearing a tweed jacket. Unbeknown to Rappetti another man was standing behind her with a large pot of black paint.

The second man started "going to town on the picture", she said.

Gallery staff apprehended both men and the police arrived and took them away.

The gallery closed afterwards, and the public and reporters crowded outside.

Inside the gallery gate were three private and armed security guards wearing bulletproof vests - with one guard carrying a rifle.

"It looked staged, like it was okay to do," said student Naledi Morron, who was inside the gallery on a field trip with her art teacher when the incident happened.

Her teacher Louise Shaw said: "It was so slow motion."

  • Marion - 2012-05-22 15:56

    No, you can't remove the painting. Just use video footage! The painting has to hang until the end of the exhibition. Any court case won't happen for ten years anyway. Are you going to remove the wall of the gallery to use the RAC as evidence?

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-22 15:59

      agreed - the more the painting stands on that wall, the more the farce of SA politics is exposed (excuse the pun)

      Vicker - 2012-05-22 16:03

      Yes by all means take the painting as evidence - Im sure the likes of Mdluli and Cele would take real good care of it while it is under their charge.

      nhamo.dzenyika - 2012-05-22 16:03

      No, police should not use the video footage. That journalist was compromised. They should take it to the police and return it the following day if it does not disappear. No one should guard it though while in police custody.

      thitos - 2012-05-22 16:05

      "The Spear" has now become "The Smear"!!! hahahaha.

      thitos - 2012-05-22 16:09

      News24, please change the title of this article to "Cops want The Smear as evidence"

      tyron.fawcett - 2012-05-22 16:10

      what a joke, if a painting is racist, what are black taxi drivers demanding only black metro police? This country is a huge joke!

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-22 16:14

      Good one thitos! lol!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-22 16:30

      This is a cover up.

      Buzz - 2012-05-22 16:53

      I hope when they say "cops want the spear as evidence", they are talking about the painting...

      Anthony - 2012-05-22 17:01

      in that case they must confiscate the whole of South Africa,as evidance against the state, for this country of ours is in the process of being raped by our own government.

      fkellyjr - 2012-05-22 17:37

      Bring in Mr. Bean!

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-22 17:52

      We asked nicely for it to be taken down, Now it can sit in the Evidence locker for Ten years , Queen Marion.

      Sharon - 2012-05-22 19:37

      why dont they bring in the real thing for evidence

      Russan - 2012-05-22 20:13

      Great Job all round guys! its time the SPEAR was exposed from its case. Now the world can look at SA as an artistic nation that exposes corruption through paintings, I offer $90mill for that painting as it is now !

      spha.ngema.3 - 2012-05-23 07:43

      i wish comrade Chris Hani was still alive, He would have delt with you people accordingly... that paint says it all that you are still recist and have no respect for Africans.

  • E=MC2 - 2012-05-22 15:57

    ya right... the cops will take it & it will never be seen again! "The second man started "going to town on the picture"... going to town on JZ's privates hey? lol!

  • deabreu - 2012-05-22 15:58

    Defaced and decocked.

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-22 16:01

      I suggested that if they (anc) don't like it - they CAN cut it out LOL

  • Charles-Bronson - 2012-05-22 15:58

    Another way for the evidance to get stolen. I order from our corrupted SAPS leaders!

      tyron.fawcett - 2012-05-22 17:00,r:4,s:0,i:81 awsome, every one make your profile pic the spear

      jimzimbo - 2012-05-22 17:42

      Charles....what on earth have you done to tyron, i think he's flipped!!

  • Henry - 2012-05-22 15:58

    Surely video and witness evidence is enough here? Perhaps the Goodman Gallery can still save the artwork and save the criminals the R136K + bill to refund the German purchaser.

  • Vusi - 2012-05-22 15:58

    The Pic all over the Internet, are they all idiots or what?

      Vicker - 2012-05-22 16:07

      Eish wena man Vusi you mampara - you know we will shut down da internet and da Twitter to protect our beloved King Zuma. We will shut down all facebooks too - we will prevail.... And any mampara knows that when you paint over da pitcher like we did, then all photos on da internet will also be painted over automatically - hey I do not know how you can be so stupid man that you do not know this...

      Vusi - 2012-05-22 16:16

      LOL @Vicker that's a classic LMAO

      eil33nn - 2012-05-22 16:26

      @Vicker...Was that sarcasm? I truely hope, that was sarcasm...

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-22 16:29

      Vusi, yes they are idiots.

  • Werner - 2012-05-22 15:59

    WOW, what a nice why to get it out of the gallery! Genius!

      Zanele - 2012-05-22 16:36

      I'm with you, good job to those 2 men I want hand shake with them.

      Sharon - 2012-05-22 19:41

      @zanele - watch out for their spears

  • Keith - 2012-05-22 16:01

    You see how the ANC has planned this whole thing by sending out the ANC Mossad and then comes the ANC FBI & CIA we want the painting as evidence , thats a strategy of removing the painting.hahahahah julle moet wakker skrik ouens dis the 4 hoeke se mafia gedagtes. Die ouens van tdie ANC het nou klaar kring gesit and duime op getel SALUTE ouens die nommer het vlo gekom.hahahahahahahahahahaha eisshhh

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-22 16:16

      I doubt they're clever enough to think of such a conspiracy...

  • Mark - 2012-05-22 16:03

    If someone defaces my car and gets caught do the police impound the car as evidence?

      Sharon - 2012-05-22 19:42

      yes then they strip it and sell the spares

  • Mark - 2012-05-22 16:03

    Was is defaced or just cocked?

  • semaphor3 - 2012-05-22 16:06

    However wrote this article really needs to get a refund on their education. How can you use allegedly when they where caught red handed?

      semaphor3 - 2012-05-22 16:07

      Who ever* :P

      Peter-Peter - 2012-05-22 16:39

      I noticed that too...the word is like a 6th vowel to the media

  • Lionel - 2012-05-22 16:06

    The PEN-IS mightier than the sword! :D

      Hugh_Influence - 2012-05-22 16:17


  • Bonjo - 2012-05-22 16:08

    Hmmm will the culprits get a Presidental pardon?

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-22 16:33

      more like a PreZidential HARDON... LOL This stupid and sad saga has made me laugh endlessly but it is also very sad. The ANC have now revealed how they can turn nasty when a WHITE person pokes fun at their FUHRER yet keep very quite when a black person does the same....

  • Frans - 2012-05-22 16:08

    Brett, I suggest you start painting another 'spear'. We all know how police evidence can 'disappear. Just one more thing - this time make the 'SPIER' smaller.

  • Lita - 2012-05-22 16:10

    Aaaaaand it's gone!

  • Ben - 2012-05-22 16:11

    Well in a sense the piece changed from commenting on the corruption of the ANC and it's leaders to how the "freedom fighters" are now the oppressors of freedom of speech and expression to cover up their corruption (in paint).... Keep it on the wall I say. Art in motion. Changing. I like it. Hahaha!

      Ben - 2012-05-22 16:37

      why thumbs down?! No I is sad panda :(((((

      thabane.magcaba - 2012-05-22 22:16

      Surely you didnt do law

      thabane.magcaba - 2012-05-22 22:16

      Surely you didnt do law

  • Jaco - 2012-05-22 16:13

    The painting's value may actually increase now because of the de-filing. The problem is that once the cops get it...all bets are off. Our thin blue line is like a black hole...things go in, but they don't come out, much like the truth for that matter!

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-22 16:35

      Jaco, you are right except when it comes to criminals they seem to come back out rather quickly

  • Sello - 2012-05-22 16:14

    The guys where expressing their freedon of artistic expression as they....y arresting dem.....

      eil33nn - 2012-05-22 16:28

      Because they vandalised someone else's property....

      Peter - 2012-05-22 16:44

      Can i come express my freedom of artistic expression on your car or house?

  • vralph.arends - 2012-05-22 16:17

    the evidence will disapear..LOKL

  • Chuck - 2012-05-22 16:23

    What a cockup!

  • Robert - 2012-05-22 16:24

    Mmmm, is it just me or is there something fishy about this? that painting is worth at least twice as mush now... news anchors and media just so happened to be at the right place at the right time... i don't know.

      Sharon - 2012-05-22 16:47

      I suspect they were informed that something was going to happen. Maybe an anonymous tip!

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-22 16:26

    Never!!! it will be made to dissapear!! these palukas (SAPS) are unable to look after their own firearms, dockets, cash and drugs that are kept as evidence.

  • Manu - 2012-05-22 16:28

    A person sets out to test his freedom of speech and ends up radicalising the state ... the irony. Some people never learn.

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-22 16:49

      All that he did was paint a picture. If we reacted with hatred and racism to it, that is because we are hateful and racist at heart. We cannot blame an artist or a painting for our faults. It is quite disgusting reading and hearing people's comments to this incident. The next time I hear someone use the term \rainbow nation\ I will feel inclined to slap them.

      Manu - 2012-05-22 17:03

      vernon don't act as if the artist is innocent in all this. He was in this for the money. He chose as his subject the head of state and went with a vulgar message. Unfortunately, I think all will suffer for his foolishness. He has put the head of state in a very difficult position. JZ has to work within the constution while at the same time fighting for his dignity and warding off humiliation. How long do you think it will be before a person with that power, put in that situation will decide to dispense with niceties. IMO JZ is a very composed individual, but something like this can push any person off the edge. You poke a lion and then you complain when the lion pounces, "Oh Mr lion it's not fair, I am weak and you are so powerful". Why did you poke the lion in first place? Quite frankly history should be made a mandatory subject at matric so people don't end up repeating stupid mistakes.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-22 18:08

      Some detractors will never learn that the old days are past. This normal behaviour of disparaging Blacks is NO longer appreciated. Yous have had 18 years to learn How to behave in a Democratic society.

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-22 18:46

      You overestimate Zuma's power Manu. He is merely a servant of the people, not a Demi-god. For this reason we have a constitution and a justice system. No one can suddenly \do away with niceties\. He is bound by the law like the rest of us. We are not a dictatorship, as many correspondents on this forum seem to think. Well done to Zuma for going to the courts on this. If we all kept our heads and waited for the decision in two days, we could have then responded civilly. But no, some people choose the barbaric route. And it scares me that obviously intelligent people such as yourself condone this sort of behaviour. Remember that this will be a landmark case for freedom of expression, vulgarity, rights of privacy, etc. and if the courts find in Zuma's favor, then a huge civil suit will follow. Personally I do not think that the courts will rule in favor of the president. But if it does, then I shall certainly respect it's decision. I just hope that you can respect the decision if it goes against your belief.

      Manu - 2012-05-22 19:06

      vernon, I didn't condon this behaviour. I am merely pointing out that these kind of stunts are in the long run self defeating. 1. It damages the leadership because they will less amenable free speech 2. It damages the national psyche because people think that free speech is a valid license to dehumanise others 3. It polarises the nation because people can no longer trust each other to be considerate of each other's feelings So at the end of the day what good has come of this? Are things better today then they were yesterday? Irrespective of the outcome of the case the damage has been done, people's perspectives have been radically shifted for the worse, and all because some fellow wanted to make money. Answer me this, if the case succeeds (as I guess you hope it does) what now stops individuals from commissioning vulgar arts of each other? Say you and I have a disagreement what stops me from commissioning a gallery full of insulting and vulgar peices of art (paintings, sculptures, ...) around the human being called vernon?

      vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-22 23:03

      Actually Manu, I have no wish for this case either way. Whichever way it goes, will not have a direct bearing on me personally. However, in principle, I am for freedom of speech. Had the painting been racist or sexist to the point of opression, I would be arguing your point right now. But I do not consider it offensive in any way. I do believe that JZ has not been a shining light to the youth with his extra-marital affairs and, culture or not, his many wives living largely off our taxes is surely not good for a struggling economy. On that basis, his behaviour is a slap in the face of the poor generally. If you hold a responsible public office and you proudly portray yourself as such, then you cannot complain when someone depicts you as such. And the largescale response nationwide to this incident makes it newsworthy. You and I in a civil claim will raise very few eyebrows because of obvious lack of interest as we are not in the public eye, we not responsible of the wellbeing of the nation and we are not living off taxpayers money. Soon this story will blow over and another one will divide our nation down racial or class lines. The common denominator is us, the citizens. We should be wise enough to rise above petty arguments and not be pawns in the hands of politicians who stir up our emotions for their own narrow benefits. Hope that makes sense, too late to think right now :-)

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-22 16:32

    The dude caught on the side of the building wasn't spray painting RESPECT,,it was a hobo trying to make a quick buck. What he was trying to write was. REST ROOM THIS WAY,,, for all the dudes that were standing in line to see the painting, but needed a pee.

  • Nathan - 2012-05-22 16:39

    I think the painting came be restored to its former glory. They have ways of removing the traces of paint damage fortunately so we will so be able to witness Zumas cockles again.

      Nathan - 2012-05-22 16:40

      Can be restored sorry

      George - 2012-05-22 17:15

      I am sure the artiste can be persuaded to knock up a few more, excuse the pun.

  • tshekiso.saul - 2012-05-22 16:39

    The news anchor was there when it happened. Let's first remember how news anchors are capable of generating news. If they ask u to remove and u refuse, they find ways to help u and now SAPS wants it. If u still want the painting let the case go, or else ..... SAPS

  • ddviljoen - 2012-05-22 16:40

    So are the two of them going split the R135K bill to refund the sale?

  • pat.louw - 2012-05-22 16:41


  • nkululeko.mkhize2 - 2012-05-22 16:43

    Wow ! After reading some comments on this story something gets into my mind , indeed we have some very funny individuals who can make the world's best comedians . The fact/ question is why do we have to make such a hullabaloo out this incident ? Lol !

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-22 16:49

      Good question Nkululeko, perhaps you should ask the clowns that went on rampage on the streets (instead of going to work) and the mamparas that decided to waste tax-payers money in a court case doomed from the moment it was thought of and it's mere existence in which the ANC has targeted a White person after doing nothing to a Black person who painted a more explicit picture. Perhaps ask the ANC leadership if there are really no more pressing issues they should have been focusing on? We know the answers, but it would be nice to hear what drivel they come back with as reply.

  • Herman - 2012-05-22 16:44

    It was a racist attack.......or was it xenophobia, or was it an ism?

  • paul.mostert.5 - 2012-05-22 16:46

    Remove the paint from the painting...ask the artist to touch up and restore .... let the two %^$^$ go and keep it on display in the galery. The ANC wants it to be removed and be taken to SAPS offices. Do not be caught by this - it is all a plan to remove it!

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-05-22 16:46

    The Financial Times reports, sales of popcorn have skyrocketed across most of the planet. In other news, Rupert Murdoch has opened negotiations to employ the ANC as his advertising department. Full story at eleven.

  • busisiwe.mahlangu.37 - 2012-05-22 16:47

    Zuma Lisa lol Trevor Noah just made my day

  • Anthony - 2012-05-22 16:53

    don,t give it to them

  • lownabester - 2012-05-22 16:55

    No!!!! What is Zuma without his "Spear" his poor wives, hahahahahaha Anything to get that painting in the hands of the powers to be!!!!!

  • Mark - 2012-05-22 16:59

    its time to sue these two men for the loss of income!

  • John - 2012-05-22 16:59

    What a freaking joke, all of this! I'm sure the world cannot stop laughing at all of this! ROFL!!!!

  • Ken - 2012-05-22 17:04

    Can't wait for Murray's next painting "The return of the Spear" but this time no more Mr. nice guy.

  • connor.sember - 2012-05-22 17:07

    Great, now we can finally get back to REAL issues. Rediculous...

  • theo.prinse - 2012-05-22 17:10

  • George - 2012-05-22 17:10

    When can I buy the T-Shirt?!

  • Ngwana - 2012-05-22 17:11

    I am enjoying this movie. Can't wait for the continuation...Rosebank Magistrate's court.

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-22 17:12

    How coincidental?A news reporter with cameras just in time for live action?Something is not alright here,where were the security?

  • mzuvukile.mbanjana - 2012-05-22 17:12

    Is the right to human dignity overriding the right to freedom of expression. If not why this fuss concerning the naked Zuma portrait. The greatest dissatisfaction should be directed against the ANC for agreeing to such foreign disgusting laws. By so saying, I'm not condoning the portrait. Since when have we been concerned as ANC, about the traditions and culture, when we are in fact, the champions of western traditions. South Africa a constitutional based on western traditions and as such we should put our emotions and respect the constitution that governs this beautiful land of ours.

      mzuvukile.mbanjana - 2012-05-23 06:03

      My brother I think you are missing the point. You are not addressing my point at all , you talk of racism, something I did not mention. Nevertheless, I appreciate the non racism you have displayed.

  • mduduziamadeus - 2012-05-22 17:12

    Mission well executed by the guys who put the finishing touch on the 'masterpiece'

      Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-22 17:43

      Well said my skhokho,have u ever thought of being a poet?

      thomas.geza - 2012-05-23 00:06

      well said, it was meant to be an abstract painting

  • raymond.sebeela - 2012-05-22 17:19

    The level of hate expressed on this blogs? Are we truly a united nation? The spier is a sick joke. Jz is not my favorite, but he is a father to someone.

      Sharon - 2012-05-22 19:46

      not father to someone rather say to plenty

  • Billy - 2012-05-22 17:20

    buffoons! the painting is all over the internet anyway, because you, made all the fus about it. LOL epic fail

      Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-22 17:39

      Are u going to sell it from internet?Anyway it wasn't right for this guys to vandalise it as the case was opened

      Billy - 2012-05-22 17:59

      ???? how do you manage to reply on the internet? lol and then he paints another picture, then i can sell it from internet.

  • Konanani - 2012-05-22 17:28

    It was a beautiful painting,picturing it without genitals

  • Konanani - 2012-05-22 17:28

    It was a beautiful painting,picturing it without genitals

  • Pravin - 2012-05-22 17:30

    Fair enough the original artwork is now damaged but surely it's worth MORE now? Could I be wrong in asking this?

      hermanartworx - 2012-05-22 17:42

      Dude, the history behind it now make it priceless and exelled the local artist onto the world stage

      hermanartworx - 2012-05-22 17:42

      Dude, the history behind it now make it priceless and exelled the local artist onto the world stage