'Dignity rights don't apply to presidency'

2012-05-24 11:41

Johannesburg - Court has adjourned in the South Gauteng High Court where a full bench of judges is hearing an application by the ANC to have Brett Murray's painting "The Spear" removed from City Press's website and from display at the Goodman Gallery.

Just before the court took its break, Judge Neels Claassen asked the ANC’s attorney Advocate Gcina Malindi, if the ANC would still be making a case if Murray had placed FW de Klerk’s head on the painting.

Earlier, Malindi conceded that dignity and privacy rights do not apply to Zuma's office as president of the country or the ANC. 

The painting depicts the president with his genitals exposed.

Huge team of lawyers

The matter began by hearing a last minute application by Saleem Ebrahim attorneys to be a friend of the court. Claassen dismissed the application, and the two other judges of the bench agreed.

Zehir Omar, of the Society for the Protection of the Constitution, had introduced himself to the court during the customary introductions, but was stopped and told this was not possible as he was not part of the proceedings.

Earlier a huge team of lawyers and television technicians set up for the application at courtroom 6E.

However, before proceedings could begin, some of the attorneys began complaining there was not enough space for them in the small court room, and they were unhappy with having to instruct their advocates from the public gallery.

Access to court itself was strictly controlled with security searching bags on entry.

Included in the public gallery were ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and George Moyo, who was out on bail for allegedly spray painting part of the word "respect" on the wall of the Goodman Gallery.

Painting defaced

The ANC application includes a demand that City Press remove images of The Spear from its website, that the Goodman Gallery remove the painting, and destroy promotional material.

The painting itself was defaced at the Goodman Gallery on Tuesday when Barend la Grange was filmed painting a red cross over the genital area and face, and Louis Mabokela smeared black paint over the face and the rest of the body.

They face charges of malicious damage to property.

However, the ANC said it would press on with the case. It maintains the painting violated Zuma and the ANC's right to dignity, in terms of the Constitution.

City Press is defending publication on the grounds of freedom of expression.

  • marnusmnorval - 2012-05-24 11:46

    Zille was photoshoped as a naked granny and she laughed it off. Some immaturity from the top level government? Way to set an example..

      Felix - 2012-05-24 11:58

      @skhuuu, they probably would have if they knew how to get on the internet. Still waiting for twitter to be shut down... Bwahahahaha

      Andrew - 2012-05-24 12:02

      hey @tshepo, unless the artist has seen zumas' penis (which i'm pretty sure he has not) then it is also not a direct depiction! you are the one that is irrelevant! anybody can paint you too!

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-24 12:09

      @ted - you cannot claim that because this has happened to Zuma, that is why Hellen reacted the way she did...! The whole thing is that the anc is acting with their spear and without thinking of consequences! Look at the way that idiot malema was talking without any concern of how we are being regarded internationally. They just go like a bull in a china shop....! Look at the speed they are acting on this issue, look at the the amount of money wasted on this issue (you just have to add hourly rates for each their attorney's in their large legal team)..! WHY NOT the same reaction when things such as BAD SERVICE, OVERTAXING, CRIME, MEDICAL SHORT SUPPLIES, EDUCATION, POLICE CORRUPTION, ETC ETC happens? Because their ego's are hurt? WHY not simply STOP behaving the way people are depicting them??? Why not?

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:10

      @Andrew ~ Yes, but who would want to paint tshepo!

      Schmee - 2012-05-24 12:10

      @Tshepo. How is a painting a real depiction if Zuma didn't even pose for the artist? Stop smoking that green stuff it's affecting your brain.

      Christopher - 2012-05-24 12:11

      crap all falls under the word art

      renny.meere - 2012-05-24 13:09

      Much ado about nothing...

      DrGonzoSA - 2012-05-24 13:26

      So are you saying that Zuma posed for the painting?

      maiseignatious - 2012-05-24 13:42

      Zuma should have learned from Zille, now he has once again gave the media somthing to chew on

      Gerald - 2012-05-25 09:08

      Zille laughed it off because of the current climate of the spear, if her pic had come before all of this nonsense she wouldn't be laughing...

  • Antipoaching - 2012-05-24 11:47

    The ANC's right to dignity??? Surely this matter should be about Jacob Zuma's dignitas, or lack thereof?

  • David - 2012-05-24 11:49

    "....a huge team of lawyers..." "It all gives work for the advocate to do!" (With apologies to Flanders & Swann) All aboard the gravy train...

      Keith - 2012-05-25 11:24

      And these mafias are being pais from tax payers money.The ANC is a criminal orginization with criminoly ideas which they learned in prison and we know about this behaviour they must not think we are all clowns in a circus. Once you have stayed for a certain period of time in prison your brain box gets diverted into how to come up with skelm gedagtes. Poepsak staan op jou kop en vluit Im a barbie Boy

  • Tuco - 2012-05-24 11:51

    There are 3 bills which are about to be passed into law on intelligence, security and graft-busting which could change our lives for the worse. The Hawks are about to have their wings clicked even further. and here we are worried and fixated on a stupid painting, shame on us.

      Martin - 2012-05-24 13:05

      thats when we all just stop paying tax i rate, no money no graft

  • lynsey.rimbault - 2012-05-24 11:51

    Don't these people have jobs to do??

  • Gavin - 2012-05-24 11:53

    the another national crisis party needs to pull its colelctive head out of its collective ass. zuma reckons he's doing a good job ? he must using the mugabe measurement of success

  • Rhulani Mabunda - 2012-05-24 11:55

    it wont be the case if there cultural allow that,but as blacks we dont tolareit that.

      lynn.barrett.35 - 2012-05-24 12:00

      Then why did Ayanda Mabulu paint an even worse painting and get away with it in 2010? Why is there no court case over that?

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:13

      The whole issue here is because the artist is white. Simple as that. Ayanda Mabulu's painting is far worse than The Spear, but the artist is black and therefore no fuss.

      mihaip007 - 2012-05-24 12:24

      wow - I haven;t seen this paiting until just a second ago! WOW that is all I can say! That paiting is REALLY bad! I see your point art. Anc is REALLY selective..!

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-05-24 12:30

      And yet whipping your cocks out in public, at the side of the road is ok? Or is that not considered public indecency? F**king hypocrites

      percy.vanstaden.5 - 2012-05-25 12:45

      Rhulani, you can't voice an opinion on behalf of all blacks any more than than I can on behalf of all whiles.

  • angus.westley - 2012-05-24 11:55

    Millions of Rand and 100's of man hours all paid for by the tax payer... How many houses or immunisations or teachers could rather have been paid for????? Please can someone actually do some real work and stop wasting our resources?

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:14

      Druu ~ and you sound stupid, really stupid.

  • lungstar.zakwe - 2012-05-24 11:57

    I think that judge is wrong to pose that question, as he is racialising the whole case and asking questions which are the responsibility of the respondents to ask. He simply does not know his role as a judge and seems conflicted.

      Gany - 2012-05-24 12:59

      No his question is valid, because if the answer is no as it was, then there is actually no case if we are all treated fairly. If the situation were truly reversed people would be saying "calm down" its just a painting.

      Dale - 2012-05-24 13:39


      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-05-24 15:01

      @LUNGASTAR-Sorry for the copy and paste from my previous comment, but I thought of answering you with the same words. FW was also a president, but not a member of the ANC. The argument that the dignity of the president was attacked must be tested with this question that the ANC really applying on the basis of that or just because it is their leader. If only on the last it means that it is in defending of a political person or party and not so much the individual or presidency. When in presidency, the office of the president should have applied. If individual, Mr Zuma should have done the effort. Yes, I presume any-one could have applied, but the question was to establish the motive. If a group of Afrikaners were painted with pig heads on while chatting in Afrikaans a group, like Agriforum, could have applied on the basis claiming to represent them, but if their leader was painted like that the same question could have been ask to them. I rejected the picture from the begin, but coming with stupid arguments and using the court and when the case been addressed telling the informed how to do it, shows the ill intent of leading the outcome. Thinking now different?

  • Tebz001 - 2012-05-24 11:58

    I cant wait 4 another 1 of Trevor Noah's standup..

  • MSGRule - 2012-05-24 12:00

    South Africa is in so much trouble. Look at the posters and the whole attitude and the misdirection of hatred towards the wrong people. "100 years of selfless struggle" it has been 18 years self pludering.

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:16

      Too true, and the 'supportahs' are too dof to see it.

  • melekomeshack.pylman - 2012-05-24 12:02

    That question was irelevent f w deklerk was the president of the np . Why would the anc make a case .

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-05-24 15:10

      That is the point! So the application was made from a supporter base and that explain the motive that can influence the outcome, because Mr. Zuma did not applied for it in an individual capacity neither did the Offices of the President applied on behave of SA and the presidency status.

  • daniel.motlhatlhedi - 2012-05-24 12:02

    thats a very good question judge bt its not de'Klerk's head lets stik to the matter its Zuma's head. Can the court proceed with what is presented to them.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-05-24 12:02

    and its amazing how the article doesnt answer its own question.... cos No is the answer

  • Ted - 2012-05-24 12:05

    Unfortunate question from the learned judge. What the hell is the relevance? For starters De Klerk is not an ANC member so they would not be there in the name of the ANC. Unfortunate misapplication of the mind. Seems everyone involved is playing to the media, not the facts.

  • arne.verhoef - 2012-05-24 12:09

    What does the ANC's dignity have to do with anything? When did the ANC have dignity?

  • Clive.D.Buckley - 2012-05-24 12:11

    everyone should download the picture and post it to their Facebook and Twitter Pages ... even better, use it as their FB and Twitter profile pics.. lets see the ANC sue FB and Twitter to have it removed... morons

      Druu - 2012-05-24 12:18

      Not everyone is like you, you lack self-understanding and the reason you use your limited thought excessively beside the point.

      diebongs0412 - 2012-05-24 12:47

      I think U are the 1 who is a moron. Twitter or facebook wouldnt be sued infact its u who would. U r th 1 who uploaded the pic not facebook

  • Melinda - 2012-05-24 12:12

    Personally I think yes fine shameful for the President of a country to have his bit painted but on the the other hand isnt that why we have freedom of speech? whether it be a letter or a paiting..surely the "president" isnt above the law or can deny us our rights? Then again this ANC is best known for it's corruption and unlawful manner. At the end of the day the ANC is the majority and will get away with "murder"

      Jeffrey - 2012-05-24 12:26

      I use to comment badly of ANC and Zuma if you can trace my comment, even on facebook. But remember that Zuma is a father no matter how bad we can label. All this right people are talking about are subject to Some limitations. we had W Bush's normal cartoons by shabiro but caused a serious stir. what about a head of state,

      Marius - 2012-05-24 13:41

      Jeffrey - His a father of how many kids again? How many wives again? How many mistresses again? Where is JZ's limitations? Why must we as tax payers keep on paying for his out-of-control sexual appetite by marrying into more and more wives?? (Last figure i heard was this is costing us round R65M!!! for the additional wives kinds etc etc, thats also travelling accommodation schooling, think man, think!). He cannot keep his penis inside so what's the problem painting it outside???????

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-05-24 12:12

    What is difficult to comprehend is when some 2 years ago 4 children were mowed down and died it has taken uptil now and the case is again postponed in our courts. Yet when a artist picture is under the limelight 3 judges and huge team of lawyers are in court. Amazing!!

  • Kenneth Nkuna - 2012-05-24 12:12

    Out of all people or political members WHY Murray choose to paint Our President?, why didn't he paint himself, this is disrespect. did murray think about Zuma's family before he can do his dirty work? some white people are like snake in a green grass.

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:19

      Kenneth, how long do you think it'll take you and your ilk to evolve? Another 300 years maybe?

      Druu - 2012-05-24 12:23

      This is not about Kenneth to evolve it's about Irene to grow and change her racial and sick mentality.

      Ze Don - 2012-05-24 12:28

      Because he's a public figure who is supposed to be setting an example. Any man that has multiple children with multiple woman is said, not to be able to keep it in his pants, all the artist did was depict it literally.

      Irene - 2012-05-24 12:34

      @Druu ~ Why would I want to go backwards?

      Druu - 2012-05-24 12:44

      @Irene, why do you write Kenneth evolution. was it not harsh unnecessarily. Who says changing your mentality will be going back, perhaps you walk backwards then let it be.

      Gany - 2012-05-24 13:02

      Because thats what artists do - they are not bound by your opinion, mine or anyone else's. Painting like most arts is there to INCITE emotions and provoke thought, and its not always there to please anyone. It has happened over and over and over in history all over the world. Sometimes we must show the horrible/unethical to provoke thought. Lets not pretend that there is not enough 'cause' for that expression, the historic actions of our president are enough to justify such drawings not only by this artist but by MANY.

      Gany - 2012-05-24 13:03

      further to the point - why do photographers take picture of children in africa where you can see their ribs, genitals and living in the worst of poverty? think about it.

      Nadine - 2012-05-24 13:18

      You a a snake in the grass my friend. Whats wrong with being naked ??

      Thembi - 2012-05-28 12:45

      Not only the family, but the the whole nation. Other countries respect and take pride in their leaders.

  • Pule - 2012-05-24 12:13

    why don't that trash president just resign?

      Thembi - 2012-05-28 12:56

      Resign? For what good reason? The people elected the President to do his job, not to resign because people like you want him to resign. Can you become a president if he resigns? Can you do better than what he is doing? I believe in criticising what Ican do better

  • murray.annandale - 2012-05-24 12:13

    'Its not part of black culture to be naked', thats why at every zulu/swazi cultural event you got ya junk out?

  • murray.annandale - 2012-05-24 12:14

    'Its not part of black culture to be naked', thats why at every zulu/swazi cultural event you got ya junk out?

  • Davidson - 2012-05-24 12:15

    stupid judge, whre does de klerk fits in with anc or zuma? that wl b up to him & associates & dwn to anc..wat if it ws that stupid judge mother painting?

  • Giovanni - 2012-05-24 12:15

    what a waste of good money (taxpayers money that is) go feed the hungry children! with what is being paid in legal fees

  • Ringeta - 2012-05-24 12:15

    No, Deklerk Foundation would have done that and some whites.

  • - 2012-05-24 12:15

    Whats the difference between Dubul'ibhunu and this 'artistic' painting?

      Felix - 2012-05-24 12:36

      I'll explain it to you once you've finished school.

      henk63 - 2012-05-24 20:24

      Felix, you'll be long dead by then.

  • penelope.manengela - 2012-05-24 12:15

    Well I'm not for Zuma's lifestyle but this is total disrespect!!!! Well i can also not ignore the fact that he's the president and he's suppose to be leading by example, also on his side this should serve as an eye opener!!!! It's called a private part for a reason, so you cannot be displaying anyone's private part especially like that!!!

  • Jeffrey - 2012-05-24 12:17

    only a far fetched Judge will ask De clerk will be respond of ANC. if any person who can depict JESUS Christ in such manner, first will be christians, do we need to ask if the same respond would have exercised if it was a devil's pic. Therefore, for Zuma first should be the ANC. we are Africans not westerns, they must not bring western tendacies here. remember Sarah Bartman.Anyway what is DA'respond.

      Druu - 2012-05-24 12:57

      They must pack their small bags and board the ship with their stupid tendency.

      henk63 - 2012-05-24 20:26

      Jeffrey, WTF are you on about? Bringing religion into this?

  • sian.okeeffe - 2012-05-24 12:17

    @JohnSloan - The underprivileged oppressed black masses have been undermined by THE ANC! Wake up and smell the coffee. As Tambo's daughter put it: "Do the poor enjoy poverty? Do the unemployed enjoy hopelessness? Do those who can't get housing enjoy homelessness? He must get over it. No one is having a good time. He should inspire the reverence he craves. This portrait is what he inspired. Shame neh! [sic]"

  • gavinjohna - 2012-05-24 12:17

    Hey Sloan...calling the artist a colonial is Racist...he is a South African just like u and me

  • antin.herinck - 2012-05-24 12:18

    Why does the honourable judge ask a rhetorical question in court?

  • Grace - 2012-05-24 12:24

    The world is watching how much money, time and energy the ANC are putting into this painting while murderers rapists and corruption take a back seat - the boot in fact! A perfect display of our government's greedy selfish couldn't care less about the rest of the nation attitude. They should have thrown all the money spent on these legal bills into the e-toll debt they made or education, food and housing for the poor!

  • Phelamanga - 2012-05-24 12:30

    The Tripartite Alliance reaction, like that of a child caught doing something wrong, is an indication that it's not the dignity of the ANC or Zuma that is at stake, but the fact that the portrait exposes a lot more about the workings of this kleptocracy than it does the fictitious rendering of the president's un-privates. The Alliance are all too ready to talk about the metaphoric meanings behind their racist utterings, but when faced with a metaphoric depiction of themselves, they are unable to recognise the metaphor, and ironically resort to the courts, an act that they have criticised other organisations and individuals for, to try to clean up their image. Next time, hopefully this year, they pick some one who is not as compromised as the puppet they chose. The man is clearly out of his depth and he has been confronted with too much for a herd boy from Zululand. He should be retired and deployed to his homestead where he can live out the rest of his days in ignominious retirement.

      Enlight - 2012-05-24 13:29

      "...The man is clearly out of his depth and he has been confronted with too much for a herd boy from Zululand. He should be retired and deployed to his homestead where he can live out the rest of his days in ignominious retirement". This is where you would have liked the rest of us to be still confined. We continue pushing those confines you set on us - you still going to remain appalled when we do this steadfastly despite the pit u dug us in and disadvantaged a majority of us. Don't you think the President would have been even a better person if he did not spend his youth unblocking his way while you gorged from the illicit wealth of your forefathers

  • MSGRule - 2012-05-24 12:30

    The article name changed by magic. If the answer is not correct then change the question

  • Geoff - 2012-05-24 12:31

    Has anyone taken the time to see the painting done by Ayanda Mabulu in 2010!! Have a look at it and then say whether this is a racist inspired painting or not.

      Nadine - 2012-05-24 13:24

      Yes, news 24 - put a copy Ayanda's painting on your website for everyone to see

  • marthamp.mphara - 2012-05-24 12:32

    This ha turned into racism its no longer about the spear..... This judges they have turned this to politics

      Dee - 2012-05-24 16:34

      Marthamp - could it be that the judge is comparing "apples with apples" ? Comparing 2 male presidents to establish if it is just 1 type of president that should not be the subject of parody / satirical art. As to 'turned this to politics' ....there is a thought that all the publicity and shouting 'Racist' etc. by our leaders is political opportunism of making JZ a martyr amongst 'emotional voters' ...and getting sympathy for being voted another term in office.

  • tkgatitswe - 2012-05-24 12:33


  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-05-24 12:34

    This is the laugh of the year, Thanks to the artist that brought so much laughter in the lives of South Africans both black and white. and if you don't like what is say well stuff you

  • mark.vanderheever - 2012-05-24 12:39


  • John - 2012-05-24 12:41

    how much money is being wasted on this c@ap,stop wasting the five judges time and get back to work already you are supposed to be running this country, go and do what you get paid for and stop fretting about this or is your inferrior complex so big.

  • mzeelie - 2012-05-24 12:41

    rac·ism noun 1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

  • Lionel - 2012-05-24 12:42

    All Zuma wants is for his pipi to be painted "beeeeega" than his head which is supposed to have had a brain...I think his more upset about the fact that every time he lifts his tummy, he sees Julius...Small head vs Big head - Common factor: No brain

  • btabane - 2012-05-24 12:45

    aggg this is so tidious are we really still even talking about this?

  • grant.boonzaier - 2012-05-24 12:46

    I AM A RACIST - read this!

  • Leon - 2012-05-24 12:48

    Glad to see the ANC has money laying around. How many lawers were there? They should use that money to create the jobs that they wholeheartedly promised everyone.

  • Msaka - 2012-05-24 12:52

    I don't think a racial ANC would open a case. And Malindi is talking nonsense. He is the ANC attorney, not Zuma's.

  • Nathi.Tlotlego - 2012-05-24 12:52

    Would they have painted De Klerk?

      sven.gohre - 2012-05-24 13:00

      I tell you what, I will paint a portrait of De Klerk with his tackle hanging out just for you. Sadly it will never be featured in a newspaper and it will hang in a seedy gallery just gathering dust. For it to be made famouse, I would need the CancER to take me to court.

  • ofhani.mashau - 2012-05-24 12:55

    people have taken this thing too far. its not about racism or such. its a painting that only zuma should be commenting on. i personally would not like a painting like that done about me but someone else might. its all about personal preference. lets leave the racists issues in the past nd focus on the real issue... IS IT STILL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IF IT COMPREMISES SOMEONE ELSES DIGNITY? whether the president or whoever.

  • Stefan - 2012-05-24 12:56

    Defenition of the word recist: When a black person in South Africa does not like the words or actions of a white person. The ANC is spending money on a court case to remove the painting from one website, has any one of the tried useing Google image? There is over 2000 hits or are they to stupid to use Google, maybe they should ask their white PA's to do it for them, maybe the will then relise that they are farting against thunder.