Protesters arrive at Goodman Gallery

ANC members are currently outside the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu addresses crowds during protests against 'The Spear'. Picture: Stephen Grootes/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - ANC members have gathered outside the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank after marching from the Zoo Lake.

As many as 15,000 protesters are involved in Tuesday's action.

The ANC said the protest will be a day of national healing, as it emerged the party has reached an agreement with the gallery over the 'The Spear' painting.

Crowds are being addressed by senior ANC officials.

A memorandum will be handed over to the management of the gallery.

Earlier, the party said it was going to use the march 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," confirmed the ANC's Jackson Mthembu.

The Metro Police's Wayne Minnaar said they were prepared for Tuesday's march.

"We have a huge contingent of officers. We will be monitoring the march and we will be ready for any eventuality."

Jan Smuts Avenue in Rosebank will be closed in the area around the Goodman Gallery for most of the morning.

The debate over 'The Spear' painting of Zuma and his exposed genitals has caused a heated debate among South Africans.

On Monday the City Press newspaper chose to remove the controversial image of the painting from its website.

The ANC had previously demanded the paper remove the picture from its website and that the Goodman Gallery remove the portrait from display.

Initially adamant not to take down the picture from its site, City Press editor Ferial Haffajee confirmed to Eyewitness News on Monday that it has been a difficult time for her and her staff as the debate 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 asked. "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 ruin the painting by throwing paint on it.

The German bought the painting for R136,000 and wants the painting as is.