Freedom of expression important: Zuma

2012-05-31 15:59

Cape Town - The government will defend the right of its people to express themselves in any manner, including protest action, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

He told the National Assembly that freedom of expression was as important and "as understood and appreciated in Constantia as it was in Gugulethu".

Zuma said: "This government defends the right of our people to express themselves in any manner, including protest action, except if in exercising that right they begin to violate the rights of others, such as destroying property or stopping other people from exercising their own rights."

He added however: "No right is absolute. It must be exercised with due regard to the rights of others."

Zuma was replying during a debate on the presidency's budget vote.

The Spear

Last week the African National Congress and its affiliate organisations marched on Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery to demand that a painting of Zuma with his genitals exposed be removed from the gallery's website, and that it publicly apologise for displaying the work.

The painting, The Spear, by Brett Murray, was defaced last Tuesday and removed from the exhibition.

The ANC called for a boycott of City Press newspaper for publishing a picture of the painting, and for displaying it on its website. The boycott was called off after the newspaper removed the image and apologised.

In his speech on Thursday, Zuma evoked the memory of Khoisan woman Sarah Baartman, whose genitals and brain were displayed in museums in Paris and London during the 19th century.

Re-open wounds

"Nor do we want to re-open the wounds of the humiliation of Sarah Baartman, who was painfully exhibited in London and Paris, and whose genitals and brain were stored in a pickle jar and shown off in a museum until the administration led by President Mandela demanded the return of her remains for a decent burial."

He said South Africa could not "go back to the period or memory of Number four prison", where black men were made to strip naked and perform the "tauza" dance.

"We dare not repeat that painful, brutal, primitive treatment of a human being," he said.

The government, he said, was working with Austria to bring back the remains of Khoisan people taken there for experiments in 1909.

"Already the remains of Mr and Mrs Klaas and Trooi Pienaar have been brought back to the country and we are working on the logistics of the reburial," he said.

Austrian scientist Rudolph Poch had taken more than 80 South African human remains to Austria for experiments.

  • Tax - 2012-05-31 16:04

    Still no comment on Ayanda Mabulu's painting?

      George - 2012-05-31 16:08

      Who is that? We talking about serious brands here. Ayanda is not known even by his parents.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-31 16:13

      Do these people live in the real world where talk and action are supposed to match up? Schizo politics.

      Tax - 2012-05-31 16:16

      White Privilege and Mpaketsane your comments dont make any sense. Much like the Anc.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-31 16:17

      @WhitePriviledge, wtf you on about?? Transparency in the system of white supremacy?? Huh?? What ya smokin?

      NrGx - 2012-05-31 16:18

      "our people" - who is "our people"...anc cadres and followers? If he was speaking about ALL citizens of SA, he would said so, as he has done in other statements.

      Tax - 2012-05-31 16:25

      @WhitePrivelege so when a black person paints Zuma naked, nothing is said about it but when a white person does it all hell breaks loose. What kind of supremacy is that? Please explain.

      theprodigy.brian - 2012-05-31 16:41

      we demand an apology for his behavior, he should resign immediately, if he had any digit, he would!

      bearpup - 2012-05-31 16:57

      There inability to respong to your question regarding Ayanda Mabulu's painting is rather simple. They are racist to the core. They would not know democracy if it came down from heaven and slapped them in the face with a big Yellow!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-31 17:05

      WhitePrivelege, you only have one comment that you paste in each discussion. It did not make sense the first time - it still makes no sense.

      George - 2012-05-31 17:21

      How much more privilege do our elite black masters want; isn't AA, BEE, BBBEE, and god knows what else enough to make a living or are they so bereft of capacity that even that is not enough. As for Zumas defense of our freedoms his spear said it all. Any talk is superfluous, but then that cANCer society are good at TALK, TALK, TALK. In this world its action that counts. Gandhi knew it, Mandela knew it. Its never too late to learn.

      Rodney - 2012-05-31 18:32

      You can't have both sides Zuma, peoples right to freedom of expression, including protest action, will ALWAYS violate the rights of others. Be that destruction of property, intimidation, preventing others from going about their daily business or, as in your case, offending your personal feelings. It is foolish to pretend otherwise. The actions of the ANC over the painting trampled on the rights of the artist, the gallery and the City Press, of that there is no doubt.

      russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:25

      nor will there be. Ever.

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-05-31 16:05

    But an artist may not express his protest? The concept of freedom of expression works both ways Mr President.

      Kolobe - 2012-05-31 17:25

      malema could not express himself

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 12:57

      Kolobe for once I agree with you. Malema wasn't o.k. after he called the big man a dictator. In the long run it is all about Zuma and nothing else.

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-05-31 16:07

    Can I express myself by drawing you're penis then Mr. President?

  • Vince - 2012-05-31 16:07

    Mr Zuma, you are nothing but a bully and you are using our tax monies to do your bullying with. Come December I am sure you are going to feel what it is like to be bullied! I am sure that after December more than just your genitals would have been seen by all!!!!!

  • dave.leverton - 2012-05-31 16:10

    "The government will defend the right of its people to express themselves in any manner" Balls.

      Sharon - 2012-05-31 17:00

      He seems to be living on a different planet! Maybe he can explain the government's reaction to the painting and also how the action fits into that statement! Does he realise how ridiculous he sounds after all that's happened? I think this is only in reaction to Lekota's remarks. Note to president: Talk is cheap...

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-31 20:44

      @Dave, 100% correct, and we MR No Balls ZOOMER, will defend our right to see your spear, whether it is small or not!

  • David - 2012-05-31 16:12

    Paint a painting like this of Madiba and i would be Hella Upset ... But a Paint it of Zuma ?? Please hes got alot more than an artistic drawing of his penis to worry about.

  • David - 2012-05-31 16:14

    Cape Town - The government will defend the right of its people to express themselves in any manner.." Does this also apply to Brett Murray? of course not. This is not democracy.

      thandokuhle.ntshangase - 2012-05-31 17:46

      I think you are shallow, continue reading the whole response, you cant be selective with the truth to present your desired picture. Its says as long as the expression does not infringe on someone else rights.

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:00

      Thandokube, what about the rights of the white people who had their petitions torn up and trampled by the staff of Luthuli House? How about the rights of the owners of the Picture Gallery, and what about the rights of the artist involved?. Being shallow isn't the answer here, being a hypocrite is.

  • gregory.jurgens - 2012-05-31 16:15

    Since when has the ANC given a sh?t about the Khoisan. Seems like some good will come from the spear after all .

      Alain - 2012-05-31 19:00

      They have never cared and never will! Its all a ploy to try and win our hearts... Shh like that's ever going to happen! The ANC and their brainwashed mob self profess their indigenous status! They seem to forget who the real indigenous people of our land are and are not willing to look into their past as see that their ancestors came from a place very far from south africa!\r\n\r\nAs I said before they have and will never give a sh#t about the Khoisan as their perception of history is horribly skewed!

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:02

      Gregory according to the ANC the Khoisan is black. The only colour doomed all the way is white.

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:04

      Alain, my Khoisan, friend whom I have known for almost fifty years, have more dignity in her little finger than the whole ANC melt together

  • Rob - 2012-05-31 16:18

    Yes, freedom of expression (as long as it does not etc...) in inviolate. The march to express the anc's view is no problem for me at all. But to then demand that action is taken is surely going one step beyond freedom of expression. So by all means express your beliefs (within the constraints of the law)....but don't tell me what I can or cannot do (as long as I stay within the law). This is perfectly rational, but is there any chance that the message will be understood, or even get out there?

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-05-31 16:19

    Sigh... Really, the picture was not of Zuma with HIS genitals hanging out. He did not pose for the picture, this has already been agreed by Zuma's lawyers... News24, please stop publishing this nonsense..

      Polotic - 2012-05-31 17:24

      @PointBlank - So it is OK for a black man's penis to be painted as long as it is not Zuma's and is painted by a black artist. However Ayanda himself has explained the significance of Zuma's penis being supported by a crutch. So it is his.

  • Johann Enslin - 2012-05-31 16:28

    Only when it's convenient for the ANC. Hypocrite.

  • farmfreund - 2012-05-31 16:30

    Mr Zuma, why are you underestimating the intelect of all people in this country, i dont know what is worse underestimating the Black or white intelect, please go away and never return. you are a two sided , mindless fool.

  • herman.brummer - 2012-05-31 16:31

    this only comes after, comments by the DA youth leader and Lekota

      Silindile - 2012-05-31 17:13

      You obviously have chosen not to listen or pay attention up til now... The ANC has reiterated a number of times that freedom of expression is important but not limitless... I've heard this many time in the last 3 weeks, where have you been?

      Mtshezi Yonk'insipho Iyawasha Mkhize - 2012-05-31 18:35

      Also assuming that the ANC would take Lekota n Tea Girl seriously, NOT!!!!

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:07

      Mtshezi why do you keep calling her teagirl?. That is not original and how would you like it if you are called boy?. By the way they took it seriously enough to reply. Had your ears closed?.

  • Loo - 2012-05-31 16:32

    Strange that he would bring up the Khoisan .. the original inhabitants of the now "South Africa". they were mostly all killed and or driven into the desert by Black migrants from North Africa and White settlers Moving up from the south. lets get perspective on the people we USE in a political speech to try and draw a comparison.

      Loo - 2012-05-31 16:34

      Whites and Blacks took what is not theirs at one time or the other on this continent, especially in the South. But never ever does this come up.

      nigel.burgess.52 - 2012-05-31 17:04

      It does come up, but only one side of the story and inaccurately at that because it suits the argument of the black racist militant. i.e. It's all the Whites fault - everything. The fact that this is in total contradiction to the historical facts is apparently of no concern in this one sided argument.

  • Tammy - 2012-05-31 16:36

    Oh. My. Hat. Hypocrite much?

  • dave.leverton - 2012-05-31 16:37

    If Sarah 'Saartjie' Baartman were around today, JZ would... No I couldn't possibly say that here could I.

  • theprodigy.brian - 2012-05-31 16:40

    so why did you & your goons intimidate the gallery & the City Press?

      Adil Smit - 2012-05-31 17:21

      The gallery owner and City Press editor are both female. Easy targets. And until now nothing said about the painting by Ayanda Mabulu, which really ridicules the president.

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:09

      The prodigy, because we don't like the ANC and it's sheep.

  • nomvula.twala - 2012-05-31 16:42

    shut up

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-31 16:44

    Sure, Mr. President. Just apologize to the artist and the gallery, and I am sure all will be forgiven. Everyone is not as hateful as the ANC.

  • nigel.burgess.52 - 2012-05-31 16:57

    Well of course they do demonstrate in any manner they please, and contrary to his statement, they proceed to damage and destroy anything they want with impunity. Just the same old meaningless Yada Yada.....

  • Cuanita Gevers - 2012-05-31 17:03

    Bwaa ha ha ha!!!! Thx for the great laugh! I recall a painting incident, I recall DA march to promote youth wage ending in ppl getting hurt.. Bwaahh ha ha!!! Oh sure let's be free and happy and express ourselves...

  • bearpup - 2012-05-31 17:05

    Jesus...i give up...i can't handle the level of crap we have to put up with daily, by the government and by the idiots who post utter nonsense on these threads. They can't answer your questions in a civilized way, they resort to name calling and threats. So this is what freedom is then. One race against another. One artist against another artist who apparently the ANC have not drawn parallels with. You can stop your name calling, your threats of violence, your negativity and racism. Your inability to understand the concept of democracy which is kind of ironic. The very freedom you have now to spew such vile racist vitriol is because a few..and i mean "a few"...sacrificed their lives so YOU can have the freedom of speech! Why did they bother? You should be ashamed of yourselves!

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:11

      Bearpup, try again.

  • Gareth Jesús Funnyman Nicholson - 2012-05-31 17:07


  • mathoki - 2012-05-31 17:09

    So, we back to normal SA, no more spear. The president will bring back about 80 remains of people who died before 1909,from Austria to SA. People we dnt know and who we will never know. Why don't we just let them live there for another 100 years, its not like there are complaining. Another wasteful expenditure, by the spear pres. Hospitals r running low on ARVs shouldn't we spend the money there? Books for limpopo? cANCer.

  • Luke - 2012-05-31 17:09

    double standard sentimental-propaganda vomit on the racial finger pointing bandwagon... I cant wait for the circus to leave town

      thandokuhle.ntshangase - 2012-05-31 17:53

      start leaving

  • Adrian - 2012-05-31 17:16

    All I can do is shake my head and laugh. We live in a country where leaders do whatever they want and then say whatever they want afterwards. I would love to know whether they actually believe that rubbish that they speak or whether they think that they can say whatever they want because they know that the masses will believe them and they know that intelligent people just accept that they are dunces. Maybe he should go take a look here and see how he created his own monster...I think that people are going to have fun with this at his expense for a very long time...

  • Clive - 2012-05-31 17:16

    Perhaps he needs to remind his pals in Cosatu of this.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-31 17:21

    Mr Zuma needs to understand the custom of satire. The custom of poking fun at people in high places. And the fact that satire is usually embarrassingly a curate and to the point - pun intended. Satire is a first world thing. He is competing in a first world environment. His Behaviour attracted the satire in the first place. It is he that ought to apologise to all Sourh Africans for exposing us all to his lascivious ways.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-05-31 17:25

    What we should start doing in the re-naming of street names and places is to recognise the fact that the Khoisan inhabited this part of the world first and that it is time to bring their history into modern-day South Africa. As well as South Africans from Malay and Indian descent.

      Mbavhalelo - 2012-05-31 17:49

      Joh Adil who are indians frm Malay and I think indians came here with ship, we will honour the khoisans offcourse, dey are original africans, as for indians we have already started honouring heroes such as Mahatma K Ghandi. We will not be honering ppl for coming into our land with ships. Offcourse ppl like late combrade kadar asmal, Ray Padayachi can be hounered for der tireless 2 make SA a better place

      Mbavhalelo - 2012-05-31 20:19

      I say Africa belongs 2 Africans. And Alain the reason u seem irritated is because u are not african, but Asian. Dat is y Mugabe would chase u all. Africans dont go 2 ur continents and start having big mouth like u are now. U say we should honour de malays and indians bcos u trace ur ancestry frm asia and dat is selfish. We have been honouring ur ppl and I made an example of ur ancestor and hero Mahatma K Ghandi, u want de streets 2 named after ur names 4 what? dat is realy crazy. This is a black man's land and Africans are very patient with u and dat is not what u would do in asia. And dat history u are talking about is questionable it was written by ur brothers frm Europe, we the original Africans have our own History and u dont dare stair us up 2 anger or soon u might provoke an unnecessary revolution with ur talkativeness. U always criticize de ANC who are u? ppl leave us and our land alone and stop talking nonesense here. U hate a black man's government den leave and go back 2 Asia were u will not see a black african with many wives being president. U are very problematic.

      Alain - 2012-05-31 20:42

      All I can do is laugh at your comment! Hahahaha... You based your whole comment on an assumption made! Me asian? U got to be kidding me? I'm born through and through coloured! This shows me how narrow minded you are! Believe me I do not have any hint of asian blood in me! My blood is african and I will not let u make face value assumptions about my heritage! Don't make assumptions cause you just completely made an ass of yourself! I get irritated because of the \we were here first\ mentality! Honestly grow up! What is frustrating is how our past is determining our future! No one was \stairing\ u up to anger, it was an opinion that is different to yours and I'm entitled to that!(Oh maybe I'm racist then) and not an attack! U ask who I am? I am a citizen of South Africa! And I have the right to citizenship and the right to express myself on anything that I deem fit! It sadness me that you believe only blacks are entitled to call Africa home... It is quite obvious that I am not the problem...

      Mbavhalelo - 2012-06-01 09:50

      Alain u are coloured Wow, dat y u talk nonesense u dont knw who u are after all, no culture nothing only confused ancestry. That y u want indians and malays 2 claim things here I am no longer commenting here lest u couse me 2 fight with God with ur baseless freedom of expression

      Jacqui - 2012-06-01 13:13

      Mbavhalelo some came by ship, and your ancestors came by foot. What the hell is the difference?

  • gee.raaf - 2012-05-31 17:25

    So allow me to express myself zuma- YOU SUCK!

      russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:31


  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-31 17:31

    Zoomer is a brainless dickhead! There, I have expressed myself.

      Simphiwe Msomi - 2012-05-31 22:54

      i still can't believe some of this white Pigskin zisa-bandlulula...hey you will always under-Zuma's shoes or maybe they think we are playing Casino kudlalwa-amaphepha..

      russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:31


  • Tony Lapson - 2012-05-31 17:40

    Only speaks up when it suits him and his ratings

  • shaylene.stenger - 2012-05-31 17:41

    Thanks for waisting that precious oxygen I could use with that really dumb and hypocritical speech.....

  • Neville - 2012-05-31 17:43

    "freedom of expression" a bland statement but has an overbearing resonance which almost shook the very pillars of our fragile democracy that is what our president stands for so what the hell is wrong with all you hypocrites, including him Why the unnecessary song and dance of the last two weeks when he believes in this resounding statement or only when it suits him and others(ANC)

  • John - 2012-05-31 17:55

    I agree with the bit to do with desecration of a human body. But I fail to see the relevance and connection to a painting. Something someone drew. He's a public figure, much worse is said about him in plain conversation. Even Zille is insulted on a daily basis. But that's what happens when you're a politician, its part of the territory.

  • Sechaba Mothupi - 2012-05-31 18:50

    Freedom of expresion must hav constraints,thez no way in which 1 cn excercis hs/hr liberty in a way that he/she engage 2 actions that discredit the ruling party nor any party as wel as our peoples nt forgetin our 2 headed president aka zuma

  • Sechaba Mothupi - 2012-05-31 18:52

    Freedom of expresion must hav constraints,thez no way in which 1 cn excercis hs/hr liberty in a way that he/she engage 2 actions that discredit the ruling party nor any party as wel as our peoples nt forgetin our 2 headed president aka zuma

  • Econwald - 2012-05-31 19:18

    ofcos 'after'

  • Tolo - 2012-05-31 19:53

    Freedom of expression for only them is important ,,,not for every south african#i wonder if sarah baartman were around she could survive the sp.......r.just thinking###

  • Danny - 2012-05-31 19:58

    Seems like the present government is here to destroy the constitution for advancing their own course,mislead the masses and turn the country into a dictatorial state and there will be no rule of law.The entire people of South Africa will be forced to accept whatever decisions the government makes and every citizen will be forced to fear the ANC government.There will be no utterances.There is a massive house being built in Ballito and no one is allowed to take any picture of the construction-no one knows the reasons behind it,Wonder who would be accomodated there.?

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-31 20:42

    What an absolute idiot.Go away man.

  • Derek Gerber - 2012-05-31 20:50

    Ha ha ha ... really?!

  • Sisi - 2012-06-01 06:51

    thula toe

      russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:28


  • Theresa - 2012-06-01 06:59

    Get a life Jacob, your genitals were painted by a black artist in 2010 and exhibited in a Cape Town gallery, Not a peep was made over Ayanda Mabulu's painting. Mpaketsane had you ever heard of Brett Murray before this? serious brands my foot> an exhibiting artist who sells all his work is a serious brand. Ayanda's exhibition was sold out.

      russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:28

      Zuma banging on about "freedom of expression" how bizarre/ironic is that?

  • russell.w.wright.5 - 2012-06-01 08:26

    Our people?....which is?

  • Jacqui - 2012-06-01 12:54

    Now we know, the government will defend the right of the people to express themselves, when it is in the government's interest. This freedom of expression do not count for whites and it doesn't count for blacks protesting about the lack of everything, where they have to scrape and scrounge to make a living. Zuma the sooner you are gone the better. I can honestly not understand that decent members of the ANC can remain quiet about this disgrace. Shame on them.

  • mzondistanley - 2012-06-01 13:59

    Mr Lekota, You can not rule and win elections alone!! You need to be a voice of the voiceless. But you bebaviour in Public is that of General in the Arm or Police where people or juniors dare not question back to their Superiors!! Like it or not You are burning with rage of Hatred of the Ruling Party and you are atwin Brother of The former President of ANC Youth League. You are a Servant of the People not their Master!!!

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