Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Ferial Haffajee, City Press’s editor, on Sunday said that an image of The Spear, which depicts President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals, would in all likelihood be removed from the newspaper’s website early this week.
Representatives from the ANC met with City Press’s editorial staff on Friday and a meeting with SACP representatives is scheduled for on Monday.
“This whole controversy has taken an enormous toll on me and my staff over the past week,” said Haffajee.
Haffajee on Sunday apologised to Zuma’s daughter for the “harm” caused by the newspaper’s republication of The Spear.
In an open letter addressed to Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, Haffajee said that she understood the pain that Brett Murray’s portrait of the president had caused to his family.
“(W)hat is a work of satire to me is a portrait of pain to you. I understand the impact on your little brothers and sisters, who may face teasing at school. Playground cruelty leaves deep scars,” wrote Haffajee.
Zuma-Sambudla had applied on behalf of Zuma’s children to enter the court case over the portrait. She had said that Zuma’s younger children could become victims of abuse at school and that Murray’s painting amounted to “hate speech”.
Yet, Haffajee said that she did not feel Murray had gone “too far” with his portrayal of Zuma, and criticised the ANC’s response to City Press’s republication of the image.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu and Blade Nzimande, president of the SACP, last week called on their supporters to boycott City Press.
Haffajee found the call for a boycott “disturbing” and “nightmarish”.
“The party that your father grew up in is no longer the same. I knew it to be a party of ideas, debate and of reaching out… My biggest lesson this week is that the ANC no longer leads; it can no longer be trusted to pull us back from the brink as it did when Chris Hani died and the nation lay on the edge of a precipice,” she wrote to Zuma-Sambudla.
Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya, City Press’s executive editor, on Sunday said that it was still unclear whether the proposed boycott had an effect on sales. These figures would be available tomorrow, he said.
A statement issued at the weekend by the party’s Youth League (ANCYL) said that it was concerned about the ANC’s tendency to persecute individuals, leaders and the media “who are brave enough to express views that are not sanctioned by the (party’s) leadership”.
Specific reference was made to the expulsion of Julius Malema, the ANCYL former president.
“We therefore call on our organisation to reconsider its intimidation tactics against the City Press in particular and on all members of society to determinedly defend the right to differing views with no fear of retribution,” read the statement.
In a letter to City Press, Malema said he would defy the boycott by buying a copy of the paper.
“The banning, boycotting and call for the closure of City Press not only amounts to media censure, it undermines the judiciary, which is still in the process of determining the right and wrong of what the ANC believes are absolute truths,” he wrote.