Remorse over Spear defacing

Barend la Grange wanted to diffuse racial tensions.

'The Spear' defaced. Picture: Gareth Brown/iWitness

JOHANNESBURG - The man who defaced Brett Murray's controversial painting, The Spear, said he was remorseful about his actions.

In May, Barend la Grange entered the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and smeared paint on the picture, which depicted President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

He was arrested and released on bail.

Last week la Grange reached an out of court settlement with prosecutors and agreed to pay a R1,000 admission of guilt fee.

La Grange said he painted red crosses on the painting to defuse potentially dangerous racial divisions that the painting had caused.

He said the court settlement was also in his best interests and that of the country.

"That's a price that I have to pay. From my side I'm not a 20 or 30-year-old political activist, so I would prefer rather to plead guilty, to try to diffuse racial tensions."