Don't know if newspaper boycott was successful - Mantashe

Gwede Mantashe is not sure how many people responded to the ANC’s call to boycott the City Press.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC's secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, said he was not sure how many people responded to a call by the party to boycott the_ City Press_ newspaper this Sunday.

The call was made when the newspaper refused to remove an image of an artwork from its website, which depicts President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

The ANC also demanded that the newspaper's editor apologise publicly for publishing the image two weeks ago.

'The Spear' has caused much controversy and was defaced by two men this week, while on display at the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The artwork was part of Brett Murray's Hail to the Thief II exhibition, but was removed after it was defaced.

Mantashe said he did not buy the newspaper.

City press editor-in-chief Ferial Hafajee apologised for the hurt caused by the publishing of the image, but said she would not remove it from the newspaper's website.

Meanwhile, ANC Women's League president Angie Motshekga said 'The Spear' painting has opened up old wounds.

"It's really inhuman and an infringement on the dignity of [the president]. It opens wounds that we thought the reconciliation process was meant to close."

Motshekga urged members of the women's league to come out in their numbers when the ANC marches to the Goodman Gallery on Tuesday.

Although the painting was removed, the ANC said the gallery should not have put it up in the first place, as it is vulgar and disrespectful to Zuma.

The gallery was temporarily closed to the public on Tuesday, after the artwork was defaced and its owner, Liza Essers, received numerous threats.

The South Gauteng High Court is currently hearing an application by the ANC, to prevent the image from being published or exhibited.