ANCWL hails Haffajee for removing Spear

2012-05-28 18:13

Johannesburg - The ANC Women's League has congratulated City Press editor Ferial Haffajee for removing a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma from the newspaper's website.

"We understand that the editor has strong feelings on the freedom of expression, however we respect her for listening to the cries of the country and removing it," the ANCWL said in a statement.

"She seems to understand the old wounds of past that were ripped open by people seeing their president portrayed in the manner he was."

Haffajee said on Monday a picture of the painting that depicted Zuma with his genitals exposed would be taken off the City Press website.

She has until now refused to do so despite pressure from the African National Congress and calls by the party for a boycott of City Press.

"We respect Ferial Haffajee as the only female editor of a major commercial newspaper in the country and when an issue was of major public interest and threatened the social cohesion of our society, she was able to rise above her own personal feelings and do what was in the best interest of the country," the ANCWL said.

Its members would still join an ANC march on Tuesday to the Goodman Gallery, where the painting was displayed.

Women leaders had a responsibility to support and encourage social reconciliation and national peace, the ANCWL said.


The Democratic Alliance likened Haffajee's decision to self-censorship.

"This kind of self-censorship will stop our democracy in its tracks," said DA national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.

He said that whatever anyone thought of the painting, no one had the right to tell any newspaper what to publish, or any artist what to paint.

"It is unfortunate that President Zuma and the ANC chose to intimidate the City Press into taking down the painting from its website," he said in a statement.

"It is equally unfortunate that the City Press has caved in to this pressure after a valiant attempt to fight for what is right."

Maimane said it should not be forgotten how the apartheid government "bullied its critics in the media".

"Those who stood firm against the bullies carried the torch of media freedom in those dark days. We must keep that flame alive."

Earlier, Haffajee said: "For any editor to respond to a threat to take down an article of journalism without putting up a fight is an unprincipled thing to do, so we've fought as much as we could."

"It doesn't serve City Press or South Africa to dig in our heels and put our fingers in our ears."

This came after more than a week of debate, arrests and an urgent application by the ANC, Zuma and his children to have the image banned on the grounds that it violated his and the party's dignity.

The painting was defaced last week and the genitals are no longer visible.


The ANC welcomed the removal of the image, but said it still wanted an apology from City Press.

It would carry on with the court case for clarity on the tensions between the rights to dignity, and the right to freedom of expression.

"We appreciate what has been done," said ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

"We appreciate that at least Ferial is saying she can now understand the pain. All that we are saying to her, is can she apologise for the pain," he said.

"Please apologise to the people of South Africa. This pain has been so deep-seated," he said.

The apology should be made to the people of South Africa and the ANC.

"The court must assist us [in showing] how far can those people go who are in the artistic environment [to] violate those rights of those human beings," he said.

Meanwhile, technology news site memeburn reported that a Twitter post under the name of mining magnate Patrice Motsepe was fake.

Haffajee tweeted: "Patrice, the real, called to say @PatriceMotsepe is a fake. His lawyers are onto it. My apologies - it was being RT'd as if the real guy."

Explaining her decision to remove the image, she said she was particularly hurt by the tweet by Motsepe, whom she had known since university.

That tweet read: "Don't expect a painted woman to remove a photo of a man with exposed penis, it helps her get through lonely nights. #thespear".

Memeburn reported that this was a fan account and that the name had now been changed to Tlhopane.

  • Anthony - 2012-05-28 18:20

    well there go,s free...

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 18:25

      Said the women's league: "We are glad we can respect Haffajee, otherwise we would have had to burn her.."

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 18:47

      News24 is turning thumbs up and down around - again. Happened many times since yesterday. Wake up editor!

      Tc - 2012-05-28 18:48

      SHe was forced to bow down to barbaric ANC-threats! The way of the new SA!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 19:00

      Now we have a trigger happy News24 editor. Hitting that down button. Even Anthonycharles' are wrong way round...

  • Adam - 2012-05-28 18:23

    The painting is still up all around the world. Shows how much they think of him.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-28 18:28

    Free Dom.

      Sean - 2012-05-28 18:55


  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-28 18:28

    FERAL deserves no respect. She should not never done it in the first place. For someone that is Religiously staunch , This was a major gaff.

      christian.denyschen - 2012-05-28 18:52

      The troll is strong in this one.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-28 18:37

    I suppose she had to consider newspaper sales. I have never read this newspaper and certainly now never will. Bending to the threats of the ANC.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-28 18:48

      .......... would buy 20 a day......... With dedicated folk around buoying their sales, I'm sure they were not bullied by anyone.

      Omo - 2012-05-28 19:23

      @Stewart croucamp..Do you think City press gives a damn if you buy their paper or not.Get over yourself and grow up.

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-28 19:52

      @Stewart, I agree, I was staunch reader of CITY PRESS but see that they now have become a puppet of the all national criminal party, i will rather buy beeld and rapport!

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-28 21:43

      Nicolaas, dont make us laugh,from city press to rapport and beeld

  • Trevor - 2012-05-28 18:38

    lol....and everyone has seen it .....FB is full of it....go NANDO'S.... you not shy...SHOW YOUR COCK....:-)

  • Ally - 2012-05-28 18:39

    But those are NOT Zuma's genitals. good god! the man doesn't have any balls. So Brett had to draw his own to make the old man look good.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-28 18:46

      You don't have an issue with this............Hang it in your Sunroom.

  • Franklyn - 2012-05-28 18:40

    money talks....everything plays second fiddle in any business,obviously the ANC threatened boycott of the paper was a pill too big to swallow.

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-28 18:45

      Lesson learnt ....I'm sure

  • IcemanGP - 2012-05-28 19:06

    If she apologises, then I'm sure the CancER Bullies will be rubbing their hands in glee. Bunch of racist turds, they should apologise to the nation for their behaviour and for ignoring the black artist that did the same thing.

  • charlfrancoismarais2205 - 2012-05-28 19:07 So, when Zuma's penis was painted as in need of help, no one marched or moaned... the obvious difference being that Ayanda is black and Murray not.

  • chikunga - 2012-05-28 19:12

    what democracy Zille?.if you hate everything black you are the one going extinct

      Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-28 19:22

      Shame you still have that racial chip on your shoulder. Do yourself a favour and get an education.

      Adil - 2012-05-28 19:33

      Helen Zille was the journalist that broke the Steve Biko story - Google it

      Adil Smit - 2012-05-28 19:40

      Back then did not listen to the Apartheid government - she reported the truth- what journalists are meant to do. Even if the government did not like it.

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-28 21:45

      Adil Smit re google that story and you will realise that some one was actually hunted down by the apartheid police for that story,why was it not Zille?

      Adil Smit - 2012-05-28 22:15

      Hugo, because Donald Woods was a personal friend of Steve Biko?

  • Irene - 2012-05-28 19:17

    We have seen it all, so take it down....I reckon he was good for a giggle, as usual. But so sorry for the EDUCATED PART OF HIS FAMILY, they must be dying of shame. What an example he has been to his family.....

  • Vasa - 2012-05-28 19:32

    First there was Julius Malema. He said Helen Zille is surrounding herself with concubines.DA was up in arms....I condemned it as well. Then there was Shoot the Boer.The DA and its front Afriforum went to court. I condemned it. Then the Spear.... The DA says its freedom of speech.. Hawu? What happened to to decency? I condemn Murray! He is seeking cheap publicity! The judge who seemed inclined towards the DA should go to Australia! We dont need him. We need a colour blind Judiciary (yes DA bliond!) The Spear is wrong! Freedom of Speech has nothing to do with it!

      mikenortje - 2012-05-29 09:40

      Mr Vasa let me educate you a bit, Mrs Zille is taking Juju to court for crimia Injuria - not to ban him from making idiotic speaches which he is 100% entitled too do and is protected by the bill of rights. Now if Juju can prove that she has concubines then the case is thrown out. Shoot the boer is incitment to commit violence - check out Chapter 2 section 16 C of the Bill of rights so it is banned and not protected. As for the Spear it does not fit the definition of checks and balance on the Bill of rights, and in fact is 100% protected under section 16. Apply the law as it is written, don't make it up as you go along, you begining to sound like the ANC

      mikenortje - 2012-05-29 09:41

      Here is the ref link

  • Michael Green - 2012-05-28 20:22

    Hello Zimbabwe! I wonder if this dictatorship of SA will try and block the Internet as well! Guess what zoooooma, your painting already exists, not only in the Wikipedia, but also millions of emails, web pages and blogs! Try and stop those you uneducated buffoon.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-28 20:25

    Typical ANC arrogance. These fools won't apologise for all the misery they have caused the people of South Africa through their greed, nepotism and corruption, but they are quick to demand an apology from anyone who reacts to their decadent, immoral and unjust behaviour. They have been riding this poor pony for more than a week now. Protesting against a valid protest. Wasting more time and money. Doing what they do best...glorifying the ANC and demonizing democracy.

  • michael.e.bowery - 2012-05-28 20:48

    Early castration wouold have stopped all this rather stupid controvery. Nothing to paint or talk about, and history proves that Eunochs have more insight and commonsense than most men who travel with their zips undone.:) :) :)

  • eameer - 2012-05-28 21:03

    Ferrial Haffejee is a true patriot. Now apologise for hurt feelings and move on. Congratulations to all. This is a winner SA.

  • Donna Sheree Netto - 2012-05-28 21:26

    Guess what??? City press isn't the only website with that painting posted on it!!! Grow up and get over it already, the painting is very easily accessible on the web to anyone who wishes to see it. Now lets see the ANC ban internet in South Africa then we will see how much you all cry

  • mikenortje - 2012-05-29 09:23

    "the sound of liberty will die to thunderous applause and cheering crowds... freedom not even fought for, simply forgotten." - ANC Members do you remember fighting for your Freedoms NOW YOU ARE TRAMPLING ON THEM, shame on YOU for allowing it. SHAME on YOU for not holding your leaders to account.

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