Zuma painting case adjourned

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pretoria - The court case relating to the portrait depicting President Jacob Zuma in an offensive manner has been adjourned.

South Gauteng High Court Judge Neels Claassen adjourned the case on Thursday and reserved costs in the matter. When the matter is next heard, it is likely to be over three days.

African National Congress Advocate Gcina Malindi broke down in the South Gauteng High court, where a full bench was hearing the African National Congress (ANC) application regarding the portrait depicting President Jacob Zuma in an offensive manner.

Advocate Malindi was arguing why the Goodman Gallery should remove the painting and also why the City Press newspaper should remove a photo of the painting from its website.

Before he broke down, Advocate Malindi was involved in an intense exchange with Judge Neels Claassen about the country's transition to democracy and became overcome with emotion. At this point, he put his hands on his chest and burst into tears.

"When the matter is to be set down again, the deputy judge president needs to be approached to set aside at least three days for the full bench to be reconstituted again to continue with the matter," Claassen said.

Earlier, Malindi argued that the painting infringed on the President's dignity. He cited Section 10 of the Constitution, which states that everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

"This is a dignity issue and that point has to be made because everyone has the right to dignity regardless of one's social standing in society," said Malindi.

He continued to argue that the portrait was unlawful and offensive.

The painting, titled The Spear, was part of Cape Town artist Brett Murray's exhibition, Hail to the Thief II, at the Goodman Gallery. The ANC wants the gallery to remove the painting. It also wants the City Press newspaper to remove a photo of the painting from its website.

Addressing President Zuma's supporters outside the court, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said there would be a march to the Goodman Gallery next Tuesday.