Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Zuma art smear case postponed

The trial of two men accused of vandalising a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was postponed by the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. 04 September 2012 | Sapa Barend la Grange, 58, and Louis Mabokela, 25, are accused of defacing artist Brett Murray's painting "The Spear" at the Goodman Gallery on May 22, by smearing it with red and black paint. The matter was postponed to October 2, as agreed by the State and the defence, for the accused to make representations to the director of public prosecutions and the Goodman Gallery on why the charges should be dropped. The outcome of this would be given at their next appearance. They are charged with malicious damage to property. Both men's bail was extended. Outside the court a handful of protesters gathered in support of Mabokela. Dressed in African National Congress T-shirts, they sang and danced. They carried placards, one of which read: "We salute Louis and (President Jacob) Zuma". Among the group were Mabokela and his uncle Stephen Sefofa. Mabokela said he wanted the charges dropped. "I want to see the charges dropped, because it's an insult... to the nation." Sefofa echoed this, and said children should respect their parents. "There are different ways to express your views. It's an insult." He said they also planned to protest in Cape Town following the release of a similar painting showing Zuma's genitals. After his first court appearance, La Grange said the gallery and the artist had the right to display the painting, but once their point had been made, the painting should have been taken down. "A high court must get involved for a painting? It took me 15 seconds to get rid of the painting," he said. He said his action was a political statement. It was not about art, but rather a political issue which had become a race issue. "It was my spoilt ballot paper," La Grange said. He said he did not know Mabokela and had met him only after they were arrested. - The Citizen - Comments by Sonny - This case should never have seen the light of day. Petty politics overrides serious crime in SA. The President should spend more time on what is really happening in South Africa than what is on display in our Art Galleries.

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