Zuma portrait saga goes to court

The ANC said it had no choice but to approach the court against the display of the Zuma Spear.

The Spear

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Saturday said it had no choice but to approach the court for an interdict against the display of a portrait of President Jacob Zuma, as their pleas to have the painting removed had fallen on deaf ears.

The party will head to the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, for an urgent interdict against the Goodman Gallery and City Press newspaper.

The painting, featuring the president with his genitals exposed, has been called distasteful and disrespectful by the ANC, the Presidency and Cosatu.

The party wants the court to interdict anyone from exhibiting the picture, including online.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile's spokesperson Percy Mtimkhulu said, "Mashatile says he respects the work of artists and upholds their right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution. He has however urged artists to respect the rights of others especially the right to be treated with dignity."

Meanwhile, the paper has refused to take down the portrait from its website saying doing so would amount to censorship.

The paper says it will only take it down if ordered by a court.

At the same time, gallery owner, Liza Essers has reportedly hired additional security after she received death threats.

The gallery stands by the portrait saying it is protected by the constitution.