Cabinet condemns Zuma painting

Cabinet has formally condemned The Spear, the Brett Murray painting of President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals, as an insult to his dignity, office and culture.

“Cabinet expressed its disapproval of the Brett Murray portrait that depicted the president in a denigrating manner,” it said in a statement on Friday.

Members of the press photograph the defaced portrait of President Jacob Zuma at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. Credit: Associated Press

“This depiction also showed disrespect for the office of the president and the culture that he shares with millions of people.”

It added that while the government supported freedom of expression, this right should be exercised with sensitivity and “should not undermine the fundamental right to human dignity of the president and/or any citizen of the country”.

The Film and Publication Board on Friday imposed a 16N rating on the painting, which was vandalised last Tuesday. This means that any museum or publication that shows the image will have to put in place mechanisms to prevent children under 16 seeing it. - Sapa