The Spear removal unfortunate: DA

2012-05-28 17:08

Johannesburg - City Press's self-censorship by taking down an image showing genitals on an image of President Jacob Zuma was unfortunate, the DA said on Monday.

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

Maimane said whatever anyone might think of the painting, no one had the right to tell any newspaper what to publish, or 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.

Caved in

"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, City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said she had removed the image of The Spear from the publication's website.

"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," she said.

"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 by Brett Murray 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."

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.

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 knew 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 this was a fan account and the name had been changed to Tlhopane.

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-28 17:14

    It's the work of the ANC bully boys and thugs.

      Tuco - 2012-05-28 17:24

      this is what happens when the country is being run by incompetant thugs. The chief of all the thugs Zuma just wants to use this fiasco to gain sympathy votes for Mangaung. what a weasel. Someone should make an iron sculpture of zuma, with that contraption of his right on his forehead.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 17:33

      So now the government knows that if they threaten enough the newspapers will cave. Dark day for freedom in SA.

      Tsotsi-Baby - 2012-05-28 17:38

      DA and City press lost....we told you to surrender or suffer defeat

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-28 17:41

      Anc thugs

      Christopher - 2012-05-28 17:54

      DA forever!! They getting BIGGER and BIGGER!! the anc are woosies, where is mommy when you need them anc!!

      Jono - 2012-05-28 18:01 obviously understand the impact that this has on future cases similar to this one??? That is the problem with you uneducated folk!!! You vote for something purely on race related! Never mind who will help your family and yourself to a better live!? But one day you will see that the ANC was just there for themselves and by they way…the money they spend and stuff like that are actually money that is suppose to go to you! the money spent on this painting paying the laywer who cried and stuff like that, thats your money by the way! They confuse you okes more than a chameleon in a smarties box purely because they know you to slow to realize the truth!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 18:10

      What would Tsotsi-baby say if she ever got to meet Zuma? "Daddy!"

      Godfrey - 2012-05-28 18:11

      ANC=1 Freedom of Speech=0. Very sad day in our democracy.

      TSOTSI Smilification - 2012-05-28 18:11

      Shm... the thumbs are switching on some comments! NEWS24... please sort this out!

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-28 18:16

      @tolli-baby, why don't you, your stupid all national criminals go and screw yourself accordingly! You think that you have win, but believe me, this is just the beginning of the end for all of your corrupt bastards. No wonder that your and the rest of the all national criminal birth certificates is apology letters from DUREX! Your a disgrace to South Africa and to human kind for that matter. Now go abd take care of your mother who is working on the corner of the street in Hillbrow! - 2012-05-28 19:31

      Please can everybody make sure they do not vote for the ANC we must make a stand against these dictators. If you should decide you don't want to vote, the ANC will automatically get your vote. i don't care who you vote for, as long as it is not the ANC. But please whatever you do, do not decide not to vote because the ruling party automatically gets those votes please please please

      Eye's Que - 2012-05-28 22:05

      This is a sad day indeed, Ferial, what did 'they' say to you? You were so strong and so brave to have the courage of your convictions!!! This is a scary moment for Democracy...................!!! What next???

  • Sérgio - 2012-05-28 17:14

    Ridiculous, enough of this,…this has gone far beyond the interests of freedom. Purest revolt impulse by entombed racial hate. Mr. President, how did this remain hidden so long? The extent of sanctioned resources over the qualities of a painting is ridiculous. Mr. President, your beauty serpent brings the devils affection fevered by your arrogance…I guess your legacy belongs to a true marks of a dictator!!!

      Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-28 17:17

      He cannot keep his snake in it's cage.

  • Kyle - 2012-05-28 17:15

    The ANC keeps managing to tighten the noose around democracy's neck!

      danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-28 18:06

      Kyle, history has shown that the African masses are too easy to manipulate towards self-destructing dictatorships. SA is not different.

      John - 2012-05-29 00:24

      @diego, what you don't understand, dear lad, is the moment you have your own opinion that differs from the party line, you will be forced to shut up legally. Freedom of speech ensures your right to keep ranting and raving about racism in this very blog. Moment that freedom is cut, your voice too will be slammed shut. It affects everyone.

  • Iampeople - 2012-05-28 17:21

    Well done City Press, you sold out. Shameful!

      Ryan Smith - 2012-05-28 18:15

      Aha full indeed

  • hellodanie - 2012-05-28 17:23

    I don't agree with the DA. I think the ANC did the right thing here. Well done to them for stopping this kind of filth to spread in our society. Now lets hope they keep up the good work!

      Squeegee - 2012-05-28 17:46

      Goodbyedanie, this is the beginning. Now they will threaten anyone you does not toe the party line.

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-28 18:23

      @Danie, you joking right? Perhaps you and the all national criminals are the only filth here!!!. I guess your little underdevelope brian cell is too small to comprehend what just transpired here. Not too worry!!!! Not very long now when all of your all national criminal supporters will come and stand begging for a job and food and that is when we will chase you away like dogs. Hope the all national criminals will give you some crumbs to quench your hunger, your f@cken useless excuse for a human being!

      willybegood - 2012-05-29 10:15

      Helloooo danie Can you say 'double standards'? You sir, are a naive fool!

  • spookhuis - 2012-05-28 17:24

    Ja, and the most amazing part of it all that the painting also looks like Vavi

  • Poloyatonki - 2012-05-28 17:26

    Not this story again please..

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-28 18:25

      @poliodonkey, and not you again, stupid all national criminal supporter!

  • solverman - 2012-05-28 17:32

    First the ANC should apologise for screwing the tax payers...

      Ayanda Yaya Khumalo - 2012-05-28 18:10

      why you didn't say that to apartheid government??? if anc screwing tax payers money so don't pay tax

      John - 2012-05-29 00:26

      @ Diego: what about the TRC? Pay attention, missed out.

  • markwmilligan - 2012-05-28 17:32

    Democracy is dying.

      Kagiso Spat Truthtell - 2012-05-28 17:39

      if Democracy is used to abuse other ppl then maybe its abt tym it dies, we wont allow ppl to abuse our dignity and privacy in the name of democracy

  • Keith - 2012-05-28 17:32

    In who's name is the apology called for, RSA citizens, or ANC fcation that supports Zuma. Rightly or wrongly I guess there is a great number of RSA citizens and anti-Zuma faction that don't give a rats ass about any apology.

      Stirer - 2012-05-29 06:23

      City Press should have issued a Julius Malema apology: Just apologise, and issue a statement to say that they don't regret it and would do it again. So in the end. ANC bully tactics rule again. The mindless idiots just don't understand satire. They should look within themselves and find out why the artist painted the picture as it was.

  • Detective.Kruger - 2012-05-28 17:35

    Zuma Should have taken City Press and Brett Murray to court in his personal capacity for deformation of character then this whole thing would not have blown out of proportion.

      Nicolaas - 2012-05-28 18:30

      @Detective, not deformation of charactoer, that would have been an insult to the courts as Bloomer never had character. Deformation of his dingi, yes cause it was deformed by it being painted too small, imagne, the court ask bloomer to prove that his actual dingi is larger than depicted in the painting!

  • Manu - 2012-05-28 17:44

    In politics for every action there can be a greater and opposite reaction. Some (including myself) warned last week that the self indulgent insults and humiliation of the other side would lead to radicalisation. You thought you could convince them with insults and obscenity ... and they figured that they will convince you with force. Well here we are. Happy now? These are the fruits of brinksmanship.

  • Malusi - 2012-05-28 18:01

    This site is Racist itself. I'm telling you the people operating were the ones informing the apartheid regime of blacks hide-out places under the pretext they were exposing apartheid. The comments for balcks don't last but for whites...allas.

      chikunga - 2012-05-28 19:08

      lucky this time they didnt remove your post

      Byron - 2012-05-28 20:08

      lol its called mind games - removing your posts and leaving your complaint about the removal of your posts to frustrate u even more

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-28 18:05

    One step closer to another African dictatorship, sadly suppoerted by the mass of sheeple.

      Manu - 2012-05-28 18:10

      It's attitudes and comments like this that will accelerate that what you fear. We each contribute in the creation of our own hell. You should be helping to defuse the situation.

  • Ayanda Yaya Khumalo - 2012-05-28 18:07

    da must shut up and focus on wp

      indianajohn - 2012-05-28 18:18


      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-28 21:23

      Nicola,you must get your head out of your ass

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-05-29 08:40

      like the ANC is focusing on its provinces, lol

  • Ryan Smith - 2012-05-28 18:10

    Zuma should have been honored to be portray so well endowed, I'm sure he is much smaller :p

      Bakers - 2012-05-28 18:35

      it's Winter and quite cold in the goodman gallery

  • Freddy - 2012-05-28 18:34

    I in general do not like paintings anyway and if anyone should give me one, I will burn it to ashes in front of that person.

  • Brent - 2012-05-28 18:56

    People, It's a sad day when we think it's alright to post a painting of anyone with their genitals hanging out. Politics is one thing, but the moral decay of our nation is another. Talking about caving to political pressure from the ANC is one thing but is this really a political issue or a moral issue? How would you like your ten year old daughter to see photos of painting in a gallery of you with your genitals hanging out. Surely there is a better way to express your anger and disdain for someone than this? I can think of many avenues. Quite frankly, I think Brett Murray needs to take a good look at himself and get his life in order first. Once he finds his own identity then I am sure he would think twice about painting a picture like this again.

      ninjacraig - 2012-05-28 19:39

      How would you like your 10 year old daughter to know you raped a woman, have more wives than she can probably count too and have screwed up a whole country? A bit more embarrassing don't you think.

      HugoMabasa - 2012-05-28 21:26

      ninjacraig Zuma was acquited on the rape charge.The verdict was written in english and widely reported in the media,both print and electronic but it seems like some whites missed it.Maybe its about time they learn vernacular languages because it seems they have a problem with their own.

  • Cornelius - 2012-05-28 19:04

    Too many of these comments - like those on many other political issues in this country - demonstrate the low Political IQs and high prejudice levels of the commentators on all sides of the issues. They should, unfortunately, be published despite the damage that they do to the causes that they pretend to serve: To remind those of us who try to be constructive why this country is sliding into the slime. As for the DA: Your comment on the removal - like a number of your actions in recent weeks - indicate an accelerating loss of political wisdom. That is, of course, to be expected of perpetual minority political parties who become more interested in scrounging marginal votes than trying to nudge a pathetic government towards something better. Helen and her advisers should rethink their tactics. Her DA is beginning to morph into that of Tony Leon: All Opposition and No Brain

  • Pieriewaaier - 2012-05-28 19:20

    And I agree with the DA. Haffajee said in an earlier report that she and some of her reporters had received death theats; one reporter was evicted form a NUM meeting and newspapers had been burned. So, perhaps from that point of view I can understand the fear and concern. But, to give in to the intimidation and thuggery of the ANC is in my opinion very, but very sad and they should not be permitted to get away with it. Fact of the matter is that Zoomsy has brought this unto himself single handedly with the support of his ANC comrades in crime and now as ever, they play the racist card, resort to intimidation of the worst possible kind and demand respect. Well, THE ANC DOES NOT DESERVE RESPECT! Zooms=a thug; ANC=a cesspool of thugs! The ANC is a disgrace! Zooms is a cringing embarrassment! His phallus defines him as a person and also defines the current ANC elite in government: They do not govern, they do not uphold the consitution, they do not have the interests of all South Africans at heart; in fact, they are just a bunch of self-gratifying tossers! How anybody with a sense of loyalty, patriotism and integrity want to be associated with the ANC is just totally beyond me. Such a shame! And South Africa as a country and all South Africans suffer as result. To identify Zuma as president of RSA is to sanctify ineptness, corruption and sleaze of the worst possible kind and ALL South Africans deserve much but MUCH BETTER!

      Lehlohonolo Laurenti Mothibe - 2012-05-28 20:26

      Our beloved South Africa has the president it deserves. People like yourselves feel you have the right to denigrate Zuma after failing to vote not to have him. The DA will never get my vote because they have no political wisdom and instead feed off issues such as this. What Ms Haffajee did is commendable because at the heart of it, Zuma is still human and has family. It's called having humanity. Perhaps some of us have lost that basic characteristic that makes us who we are at our core. I don't hear the DA saying they will post the Spear on their website etc. but have issue when others remove it. For as long as people engage in cheap petty politics, the ANC will continue to rule. I don't particularly like the status quo either, but bitching and being disrespectful to Zuma will not change a thing. Start changing your party into a formidable foe for the ANC, get more people in your community to the polls and make a difference. Talk is cheap, and if paintings speak your politics then sadly, the ANC deserves to rule this country (and as Zuma said) "till Jesus returns."

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-05-29 08:47

      @ contradict yourself, you seem confused.

      Pieriewaaier - 2012-05-29 14:17

      @ Lehlohonolo. Yep, you are absolutely right. The so-called faceless 'masses' deserve a degenirate as president because they keep on voting in spite of his dismal record. But otherwise, I agree with Nigel that you contradict yourself and appear to be confused: The DA is changing into a formidable force & is already making a noticeable difference. So, if you do not like the status quo (as you say), exercise your democratic right to help the DA becoming a winning party nationally. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

  • bretton.eveleigh - 2012-05-28 20:59

    Well this time I'm disagreeing with the DA. I don't like Zuma and his lifestyle, but I do believe in common decency and respect for others! Brett Murray just used this as a media stunt, to get some publicity, nothing more!

  • Diego - 2012-05-28 21:08

    since when are whites in South Africa experts in democracy last time I checked black where not part of your democracy plans. look at Western Cape. whites all the way in the cabinet and everywhere.

      John - 2012-05-29 00:36

      It's called a rainbow nation, son. Walk out into our country and chances are you'll find a variety of people from different cultures, creed and colour. If you left your racism and hate behind, besides making you happier, we may just make something more of our nation. Just saying.

  • dougmayger - 2012-05-28 21:41

    In this instance I support Zuma (Not the ANC)the dignity of the person should only be impaired by himself; and he does enough on his own.

  • Bokfan - 2012-05-28 23:12

    This has made SA a better place to live MUUUUUUUUUUUUCH!!!

  • Bokfan - 2012-05-28 23:26

    Once again the criminal tendency triumphs over the democratic project. Zuma could have made his displeasure known and yet defended the right of the artist and the newspaper and the gallery to publish. Thereby he would have advanced the cause of human rights in the world. Instead like the petty crime boss he is, he demands poephols respect his "honour". EFFF you Meneer die Precedent you have led this country into a cesspit of corruption and failure and that is a crime against humanity.

  • coates.dave - 2012-05-29 09:11

    It seems like someone didn't want the spear removed from all online sources.. someone posted it ->

  • Nyiks11 - 2012-05-29 10:35

    I knew that Patrice would not stoop to that level , he is forever a gentleman's gentleman

  • roger.wynnedyke - 2012-06-01 10:43

    I am a white, and I am South African, so it would be easy to make a sweeping generalisation that because of the colour of my skin and my nationality, I am probably a racist. And because I am a white racist I am anti the ANC, have loads of money, a university degree, and not an ‘African’, simply a ‘South African’. Conversely, if I was black I would be pro ANC, the criminal element or a corrupt official, I would probably have AIDS, and I would be an ‘African’ through and through. It is therefore predetermined that generalisations will be made, no matter how ridiculous they are and so where better to generalise than a country with such a history as South Africa?... Continue this article -

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