ANC to withdraw 'The Spear' case
ANC and Goodman Gallery have reached an agreement on ‘The Spear’
JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Jackson Mthembu and the Goodman Gallery’s Liza Essers have announced that the ruling party will withdraw its case from court.
The party and gallery are currently holding a joint press conference revealing details of an agreement that was reached after a meeting.
Upon arrival, Mthembu gave Essers a hug and began speaking.
“We've reached an agreement; we won't go through all of it, my friend Liza will explain.”
Essers said, “The painting has been defaced, it will not be shown in the gallery and the ANC will withdraw its case.”
She added, “This rich and robust debate brought up historical hurts and that was never our intention.”
Essers said the gallery stood firm on artistic expression together with the ANC and agreed not to have to have artworks censored.
Mthembu said the ruling party were confident the debate around the painting could not be handled by any constitutional instruments, including the courts.
The gallery have also agreed to remove the picture of the painting from its website in the near future.
On Tuesday, close to 15, 000 members of the ruling party marched to the gallery where they were addressed by senior ANC officials.
The ANC said the march to the Goodman Gallery was to make sure that South Africa gained something from the hurt and pain surrounding the painted image of Jacob Zuma with his trousers unzipped and his genitals exposed.
“Out of this hurt, out of this deep pain, something has arisen,” Mthembu told marchers.
The issue over 'The Spear' painting of Zuma and his exposed genitals has caused a heated debate amongst South Africans.
Although initially adamant not to remove the image from its website, City Press editor Ferial Haffajee confirmed to Eyewitness News on Monday that it had been a difficult time for her and her staff as questions over the publishing of 'The Spear' painting had continued.
Zuma chose to take the matter to court, while there were calls to boycott the newspaper altogether.
When questioned, Haffajee admitted she was unsure, if given the chance, whether she would publish the picture again.
“I think I might run ten miles in the other direction.
“Do I regret it?” she asks. “If we hadn’t done it, I don’t think we would have a very essential debate.”
Meanwhile, the German art collector who bought 'The Spear' confirmed he will collect the artwork himself and indicated that he will not have it restored, after two men chose to throw paint on 'The Spear', ruining it.
The man bought the painting for R136,000 and wants the painting as it is.