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Wed Apr 01 12:34:57 CAT 2015

Zuma art smear case postponed

Sapa | 23 May, 2012 12:45
Two of the three man been arrested for defacing President Zuma painting at Goodman Gallery. Louis Mabokela is in front. PICTURE :ELIZABETH SEJAKE

The trial of two men accused of vandalising a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was postponed in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The matter was postponed to June 28 for further investigation.

Barend la Grange and Louis Mabokela are accused of defacing the Brett Murray painting at the Goodman Gallery on Tuesday.

Both men's bail of R1000 was extended. They face charges of malicious damage to property.

The gallery where the controversial painting of Zuma is housed was temporarily closed to the public on Tuesday. It was still closed on Wednesday morning.

Gallery owner Liza Essers said the move was prompted by numerous threats and the defacing incident.

The High Court in Johannesburg will hear an African National Congress application on Thursday to have the painting taken down.

A third person, George Moyo, was arrested for spraypainting on a wall outside the Goodman Gallery. He appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court earlier on Wednesday.

Essers said the painting -- 'The Spear' -- had generated a debate that clearly engaged with important legal and constitutional issues.

"I furthermore never imagined that this debate would transform into harmful physical action," she said.

"This is over and above questions of political power, which formed part of its original dialogue."

The gallery said it had recognised how divided the country had become over the controversy the painting had sparked.

“We must take cognisance of all responses to our exhibitions, and do not value one opinion above another.”

The painting was defaced with red and black paint, obscuring the face and waist of the figure.

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