Minister urges SA to work together

2012-05-30 20:30

Cape Town - South Africans need to find the correct balance between freedom of expression and the right to dignity, Art and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said on Wednesday.

Mashatile said tension over the Spear painting, depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed showed that South African society required healing, reconciliation and nation-building,

"Honourable Speaker, in the past two weeks there have been heightened tensions among South Africans about what is wrong and what is right," he said.

"This tension brought about by the artwork The Spear has broken the reality that ours is a society that requires great effort towards healing, reconciliation and nation-building."

Mashatile said he was "happy" that the matter was being resolved.

He said it was "quite clear" that more dialogue was required if South Africa was to build "a socially inclusive society".

"Honourable Members, there are very loud voices out there that seem to suggest that the ruling party has been bullying others and therefore denying them their right to freedom of expression.

"This perception is wrong."

He said the ANC had fought for freedom of the press and had done away with censorship and banning orders.

Those who argued for freedom of expression should equally appreciate the rights of other South Africans to dignity as guaranteed in the constitution.

"As South Africans, we need to find the correct balance between freedom of expression and the right to dignity," he said.

South Africans had to "work together" to erect new symbols of a democratic society that would have a positive meaning to all.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-05-30 20:43

    Freedom of expression is just that. Any censorship is not freedom. What they want is control of the media, information and thought. 1984 anyone?

  • bernpm - 2012-05-30 20:45

    "In ordinary usage it denotes respect and status, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect." - Wikipedia. Respect needs to be established and given, it requires respective behaviour. Self-respect is the basis for getting there.

  • Zebedee - 2012-05-30 20:46

    ok dear minister we will do that in the mean time you and your buddies put the painting aside and start doing some work for a change.if you and your troop actually do as much as you speak we will be heading in the right direction............ some how i dont see that happening

  • jacques.koorts - 2012-05-30 20:53

  • Gareth Jesús Funnyman Nicholson - 2012-05-30 21:03

    Is he not aware of what the anc has been doing for the last few months concerning expression of freedom.

  • anthonie.vanbosch - 2012-05-30 21:03

    We need to show or indicate careful judgment and discernment especially in matters of taste and culture. What is acceptable in one country is not acceptable in another. You will see for example many people with Tattoo’s in other countries but not in the RSA. Not everything in the modern world is good for this country and the RSA society should decide independently what is good for us and what not.

      Phae - 2012-05-30 21:44

      Who gets to decide??? Don't you get it, that's why we need freedom of expression to stop people like you wanting to discern for people like me. I don't need anyone telling me what is good for me, I'll decide that myself. BTW there are plenty of people with tattoos in this country! And what RSA? This is 2012.

      Thabo - 2012-05-30 23:53

      I can sense that many people are angry here but confused against who or for what. You see in society that is still fresh from inequities scales you find others feel that they freedoms are far better than other bcuz of materialistic gains n that's how they turn to define freedom yet they contribute little in the life of the nation, many of folks who fented they negative energy into the Spear saga don't help anyone except their families n friends. We're living Barbarians Zuma issue had shown us the type of South Africa we all seeking to build very few are try to build democratic, united, non racial SA but others still fights to different yet others stuck in the past. Many folks salutes Mandela for being champion of non racailism but Mandela was no different from Zuma as u made him He represented the same mandate ANC gave Zuma but he was still appreciated as he just fighting for something alse accept the freedoms we're enjoning equal so by the ANC so SA must respect Zuma as Mandela, what we seeking is what ANC is seeking as the Movement of Mandelas I salute your comments Antoine(sorry for spelling man)

  • tshepo.ramaila - 2012-05-30 21:04

    I wish i knew what the ANC means by working together. The Minister is correct by saying the ANC fought for freedom of the press but now they want to reverse all that via the secrecy bill. 'The Spear' did not violate Zuma's dignity as much as the open air toilets violated the dignity of so many other South Africans. The ANC needs to realise that they are not the nation's bosses but rather the nation's servants. Do you job and stop wasting valuable resources fighting artists.

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-30 21:16

      HEAR HEAR! anc has REALLY put their foot in MANY instances! And it takes a real idiot not to see that the anc is actually a party that LOVES dictatorship! I mean they were quick at pointing out the toilets in the Cape, but when many fingers pointed back at them, they quickly moved on to other finger pointing affairs..! The spear is the LATEST of their shananigans! Thanks man for a really put comment! You make me proud to take part in this society! The anc makes me ASHAMED to tell people that I live in South Africa..!

      Steven Trollip - 2012-05-30 21:53

      Well said Tsepo!

  • mihaip007 - 2012-05-30 21:06

    "South Africans had to "work together" to erect new symbols of a democratic society".... I guess zuma "ERECTED" his new symbol of deomocracy! Normal people simple pull a zap, he pulled his spear at the whole country LOL

  • raymond.abrahamse - 2012-05-30 21:32

    80 year old women and 3 month old babies have the right to dignity.Go and talk to YOUR people about dignity.

  • Phae - 2012-05-30 21:33

    Why are you telling us 'South African society required healing, reconciliation and nation-building' after this saga. Did you guys do anything but inflame the situation when it was going on? No discussions, no clear headed reasoning, just knee jerk indignant and inciteful behaviour. Followed buy bullying everything and one that didn't agree with your African cultural perception of the artwork. You made this penis saga racist and hateful, when it was neither. You are disgraceful and you need to understand your own constitution better. You broke it, now you fix it.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-05-30 21:38

    In a democracy you are entitled to your views even if they offend others. If you voluntarily enter public life you abide by that truth. The people should not be made to bend down to your wishes. They did not even have a say in being "the people" without the perks that come with public office. If you feel that personal life and/or echo is that much important to you and not worth the perks of public life then just retire gracefully or stay at home. The rest of society is far more important.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-05-30 21:57

    The old tactic. Kick up a row and make it appear that compromise must be the solution. And so you get your way. Slowly but surely you destroy our freedoms. Who in the present polemic started the rumble in the jungle? (Freudian slip, ooops!) We must then enter into a dialogue to compromise our democratic freedoms and rights of expression? Can't people see what is taking place? No, most of them don't seem to. Perhaps this country was destined to revert to some chieftainship rule. The Chief can do no wrong/harm. Is that how we are supposed to live?

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-30 22:02


  • Adil Smit - 2012-05-30 22:19

    Ordinary South Africans are doing that already and help each other ( see article about the guy who lost his bike in a fire) but then politicians come and incite hatred and violence )

  • Jean - 2012-05-31 01:50

    Practice what you preach my dear minister. You fight like toddlers in your main party and your provincial parties.

  • tebogo.maja.77 - 2012-05-31 06:21

    I absolutely agree, we need to find the right balance. Yes the ANC bullied the press. They should have waited for the courts instead of calling marches and boycotts when there are bigger things in the country taking place, like the ever increasing prices of food(price fixing), High rate of unemployment(we have thousands of graduates not working), No textbooks for learners at schools (Yet the ANC has the audacity to hold LAVISH parties). We need an alternative party not one based on colour but one based on unity and a common for our children's future.

  • thabojnr - 2012-05-31 08:30

    The courts are the best arbiters of determining a proper balance between freedom of expression and right to dignity. Any outcome forged outside the courts is not far-reaching and I hope the ruling party realise this sooner than later.

  • Willem - 2012-05-31 14:23

    Says the minister whose department is running around changing place names to none existing cultural names. You see, it will not happen as long as the ministers consider themselves as some sort of kings, who is boss and can do what they want.

  • Mark - 2012-05-31 14:49

    The Minister urges all to work together. What a shame to ask that we work together when we the people gave them the mandate to work on our behalf. Is it because they cannot work or do not want to work.[too busy emptying the government coffers and too arrogant to admit] I have a suggestion, Why do we not all add R100.00 per month in a community coffer. [not the bank, that belongs to a group of people, they will use our funds make a huge profit and as always give us the crumbs] the target should be 100 000 people. With so many people you then have 10 Million Rand. We build a community bakery and service the community with bread at R5.00 each. Thereafter we purchase the industries that manufacture flour and then purchase the farms where the corn is grown. The advantage of the scenario is that all purchased items belong to the community. At all the purchased places we create employment and literally give the person standing on the corner begging for money employment. At all the purchased places everyone will receive the same salaries [systematically eradicating the capitalist approach]No unions and no union fees. With this scenario we should even consider planting fruit trees in our municipal area instead of trees that does not serve a purpose. If the premises belong to the community it will not be burgled. We will not rob and steal from one another as we are living the ubuntu culture. I would prefer to start in the Western Cape. Any Questions ?? Yes it is feasible.

  • Oom - 2012-05-31 15:13

    I fully agree, so, stop BEE and AFFIRMATIVE ACTION and we can ALL work together..

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