Court postpones “Spear” case indefinitely

On Thursday, it also ruled that video footage of the ANC’s lawyer breaking down may not be televised.

“Before we postpone the matter there is another thing that has to be dealt with,” said Judge Neels Claassen.

“It had been brought to the court’s notice that the portion where the ANC and Zuma’s advocate Gcina Malindi broke down had been televised.

“And as a full court we are of the view that that should not be further televised,” he said. That would apply both locally and internationally.

The case was then postponed indefinitely. Another date would be set and another full Bench constituted.

Malindi returned to court after breaking down during the hearing for an interdict against The Spear artwork.

The hearing was halted when the ANC’s advocate burst into tears.

“He’s fine. He will be back to proceed,” said Malindi’s instructing attorney, Titus Mchunu.

After a gruelling morning of questioning in the South Gauteng High Court on why there was a racial overtone to the painting, featuring genitals on a likeness of President Jacob Zuma, and whether the image could actually be banned given its wide distribution on the internet, witnesses said they saw Malindi slump in his chair and cry.

Claassen immediately adjourned, and word was later sent to the court that the case would resume at 2pm.

The ANC, Zuma, and Zuma’s children made an urgent application to have the painting removed before it was defaced on Tuesday. They also want City Press to remove images of it from its website.

They argue it infringes Zuma’s dignity as an individual and as president of the ANC and the country. City Press has refused to remove the painting, citing freedom of expression.

Malindi burst into tears after one of the judges asked him about the significance of the interdict now that the painting was defaced.

He replied that many things had been promised by the Constitution, but the fact that they had not been delivered did not make their relevance any less important.

The advocate then broke down, leaving the packed courtroom in confusion. Zuma’s children and other ANC supporters began talking about how changes needed to be made to the Constitution.

“We can’t submit forever,” said one Zuma supporter.

On Tuesday two men walked into the Goodman Gallery and defaced The Spear painting.

Barend la Grange and Louis Mabokela painted a large red X over the genital and facial area and covered it in black paint while eNews cameras filmed the incident.

Malindi said the founding affidavit was made by Zuma – in his personal capacity and as president of the ANC and the republic.

Malindi told the court Zuma wanted a “vindication of his constitutional rights to dignity and privacy”.

“It is up to this court to determine if this image humiliates [Zuma] and infringes on his dignity,” Malindi said.

He added: “No insult can be justified by right to freedom of expression.” This equated to calling someone a “kaffir” or a “coolie”, she said.

Malindi has asked the court to take into account South Africa’s history of apartheid when considering the interdict.

Claasens said some black people found the painting racist while others did not.

“So how is it racist?” he asked.

Malindi said the court must take into account all cultural interpretations of The Spear.

The hearing continues. – Additional reporting by Sapa

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Deshnee Subramany
Deshnee Subramany is our loudest employee. After slogging through various positions in marketing, advertising, radio – and a cow suit – Deshnee finally found her way to the M&G as a content producer in 2010, and was then forced to grow up by filling the position of day editor of the website. Sometimes she puts on her radio voice and guest-hosts the M&G Newsroom.If she was a superhero she would be called the Feeding Frenzy. Her passion is South African politics and revolutions. This comrade loves setting her world alight by discovering new ideas and people, and isnt afraid to laugh the loudest.

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