Johannesburg - “Phambili with freedom, phambili! Down with racists, down!”
This was the chant echoed by a crowd of over 50 ANC members as they picketed outside the Eyewitness News (EWN) Primedia offices in Sandton on Friday morning.
The picket was over a cartoon published by EWN on Wednesday titled “A Congress of Clowns” by Dr Jack & Curtis.
The cartoon, which caused an uproar on Twitter, depicts the newly elected ANC cabinet as “clowns”, and voters as “p***hols” (a***oles or idiots).
“We have come (here) to depict our disgust and anger… 20 years into democracy and one of our fundamental rights is the right of our people to choose (who they vote for),” said ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa.
“The depiction of that right (to vote) in this way is an insult and undermines that very right and has very racist undertones.”
Following the outrage against the cartoon, the broadcaster removed it from their website and Twitter page.
EWN editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis issued a statement from the broadcaster on Thursday saying: “We recognise that a political cartoon is open to individual interpretation.
“We accept that, however unintended, the commentary contained in the cartoon has offended some of our valued listeners, followers and readers and we at EWN apologise for any unintended offence caused.”
But Kodwa said the damage had been done.
“The damage done is unimaginable… it was an attack on the entire organisation but mostly our voters. Calling them ‘p****ols’ – a ‘p****ol’ is someone who is an idiot!
“We’re also here to highlight other racist incidents like in the Western Cape and Limpopo where farmers are shot and killed, ‘mistaken’ as baboons,” Kodwa added.
Tebogo Selowa, 25, dressed in a yellow ANC shirt and holding her baby boy – also donning an ANC shirt – said she felt racism in the country wouldn’t stop. She said she joined the picket in support of the ANC cabinet.
A memorandum was to be handed over later on Friday morning to the broadcaster.
Over a dozen police officers guarded the perimeter of the Primedia offices as the crowd sang struggle songs on a cordoned portion of the pavement.
The protesters carried placards reading: “Stop Racism in SA”, and “Non-racial SA in our lifetime”.
Kodwa said he could not comment on behalf of the individuals who had lodged legal complaints against the broadcaster over the cartoon.
EWN said they had referred the matter to Primedia’s ombudsman, advocate George Bizos.