(File photo) The editor-in Chief of City Press, Ferial Haffajee. Photo: Moeletsi Mabe

It was too early to determine the sales of the City Press on Sunday after a boycott called by the SACP and the ANC, said the newspaper's deputy editor Fikile Moya.

“We can comment on this after the next edition which will be next week,” Moya said on Monday.

“Indications are that sales went well. There was no intimidation or abnormalities we did observe,” he said.

The boycott was called on Thursday by SA Communist Party secretary Blade Nzimande, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu after the newspaper refused to remove from its website a picture depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee announced on Monday that the picture had been removed “out of care and as an olive branch”.

On Sunday, she apologised if Zuma and his little children had been caused harm by seeing the picture in the newspaper.

In a column which took the form of a letter to Zuma's daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, Haffajee said she understand that what was a work of satire to her was “a portrait of pain to you”.

The painting 'The Spear', by Cape Town artist Brett Murray caused an outcry when it went on display last week at the Goodman Gallery, in Johannesburg, as part of his exhibition “Hail to the Thief II”.

The gallery closed its doors on Tuesday after the portrait was defaced. The two men were arrested, as was a third person who allegedly tried to spraypaint the word “respect” on an outside wall.

Moya said he could not say whether the boycott had been lifted.

“That is for the ANC alliance to answer. When we met with the SACP it wasn't to ask them to lift the boycott, but to engage with each other's point of views.

An SACP delegation led by Nzimande met Haffajee and some of her colleagues on Monday to discuss the newspaper's coverage of the painting.

The SACP told them it remained committed to freedom of speech and artistic expression.

Mthembu said City Press should apologise to the “people of South Africa, and the ANC.

Moya responded: “We serve the SA public and we have responded to SA sentiment. Mr Mthembu is entitled to his opinions. But our constituency is to serve South Africans.” - Sapa