Nzimande trying to divert attention - Zapiro

When asked about his thoughts on the so-called insult law, Zapiro said it was “banana republic stuff”.

Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Cartoonist and satirist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro says claims made by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande that his cartoons are racist are simply part of a plan to divert attention from the criticism being directed at President Jacob Zuma.

On Thursday, the minister appeared to backtrack from earlier reports that he wanted a special law making it illegal to insult the president.

But he said he wanted a national debate because people were getting angry that some whites continually hurled insults at Zuma.

Shapiro says he does not agree with Nzimande's claims.

"I don't buy it."

He said he always tried to put himself in the figurative shoes of others.

"Could there really be something racist impugned from the drawings that I've done and I actually don't get it?"

When asked about his thoughts on the "proposed law", Shapiro said it was "banana republic stuff"

Shapiro added the difference between criticism and insult is simply subjective.

Two weeks ago, the president dropped a defamation lawsuit against Zapiro, for a cartoon published in the Sunday Times, that suggested he was about to rape Lady Justice.