Roads will be closed in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday when the ANC goes to the High Court to ask that a controversial painting of President Jacob Zuma be taken down, Johannesburg metro police said.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said Pritchard Street between Von Wielligh and Von Brandis Streets would be closed. Kruis Street would be blocked at President Street.

Motorists could use Market and Jeppe Streets. There was a strong police presence outside the court.

Judge Kathree Setiloane has granted permission for and eSat to broadcast the court proceedings live.

The painting at the centre of the court battle, titled “The Spear”, was part of Cape Town artist Brett Murray's exhibition “Hail to the Thief II” at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

The ANC wanted the gallery to remove the painting. It also wanted the City Press newspaper to remove a photo of the painting from its website. The work was vandalised on Tuesday. Earlier that day the court application was postponed to allow all parties to file further papers.

Zuma's children would also join the case to have the painting removed from the gallery. It was not immediately clear which of Zuma's children would join the case.

Murray had applied to be part of proceedings. - Sapa