Mthembu denies any split in ANC over ‘Spear’

“For anyone to say the ANC is not united on this matter would be disingenuous anfurthermore be fudging the issues at hand,” said spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, told the Mail & Guardian during an interview at Luthuli House on Monday.

Mthembu was referring to a City Press report over the weekend, which claimed senior ANC members were not in agreement with the party’s action on the matter.

The paper also carried an opinion piece by expelled youth league president Julius Malema, which lambasted the ANC for “posing a threat to democracy”.

Mthembu said reports of divisions could have originated from unhappy ANC members who sought higher leadership positions within the party. “You will obviously have people who are disgruntled with the party, who might take a different line but that doesn’t mean we are not united on this issue,” Mthembu said.

The battle over the controversial artwork is currently being fought on the streets and in court after first coming to light mere weeks ago. The ANC is seeking an urgent court interdict against the gallery and the newspaper, demanding the image to be removed from the exhibition and taken off the newspaper’s website, arguing that it violates President Jacob Zuma’s right to privacy and dignity.

The painting depicts Zuma with his genitals exposed, and forms part of artist Brett Murray’s Hail to the Thief II exhibition.

After the interdict hearing was postponed last week, the ANC called for a boycott of the City Press and called on all its members to march on the Goodman Gallery on Tuesday.

The ANC could not confirm how many of its members would be attending the march only to say final numbers could be “in the tens of thousands”.

The City Press has since withdrawn the picture from their website but Mthembu said the ANC still expects an apology from the paper. “If they manage to do this, it will say to us they realise the great pain the publication of this portrait has caused,” he said.

The original artwork was defaced last week by Barend la Grange and Louis Mabokela.

Mabokela claimed he did so to protect Zuma’s image, while la Grange said he defaced the painting to prevent a race war.

Mthembu also discounted reports suggesting Zuma was using the furore surrounding the painting as a rallying tool for support ahead of the ANC elective conference in Mangaung this December.

“Anybody saying this is Zuma playing victim, please god, give the ANC some credit. There is no one who would use such an image to play victim,” Mthembu said.

Mthembu claimed the president was unaware of the painting’s existence when the ANC decided to take action. “We did what we thought was right as the leadership of the ANC and we stick to our decision.”


Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.