Churchman told to retract stoning call
Nazareth Baptist (Shembe) Church spokesman Enoch Mthembu has been ordered to retract publicly a call for the stoning to death of artist Brett Murray.
The Johannesburg High Court yesterday granted the interdict brought by Murray after his lawyers' request to Mthembu to stop inciting violence against the artist fell on deaf ears.
Mthembu has five days to retract the statement in public and to file an affidavit to the registrar of the court confirming he has complied with the court order.
The court ordered that Mthembu pay the costs of the application.
But Mthembu remained defiant yesterday, calling Murray a drama queen who wanted to create controversy with his painting of President Zacob Zuma.
Murray's attorney Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti said the interdict restrained Mthembu or anyone acting in his name and or under his instruction from stating that Murray should be stoned to death or physically harmed in any way.
"The order starts as from today [Wednesday]. And if Mthembu does not apologise he would be in contempt of court and might also face arrest. The judge granted the order against Mthembu, not the church," she said.
Mthembu said he had no interest in apologising to Murray and had the money to fight the artist in court.
"Where in the world can you find a person disrespecting the president in that way? He [Murray] should be the first one to apologise. I will never do that. He is too arrogant. He should have seen that he did wrong by the huge outcry, with some people even defacing the painting .
"I'm also not going to nurse his ego because he did this with the purpose to market himself. Murray knew very well that creating a controversy would make him more famous and make more money as people would want to buy that painting," Mthembu said.
On Monday, Mthembu called for Murray to be stoned to death over the controversial painting depicting Zuma with his genitals exposed.
Some members of the Nazareth Baptist Church clergy have called for Mthembu to be disciplined.
Nkululeko Mthethwa, who said he is, in fact, the church's appointed spokesman, said the church would follow its internal process to discipline Mthembu because his utterances went against Shembe teachings of tolerance, respect and self-discipline.
He said Mthembu did not represent the views of the church.
"Mthembu is the former church spokesman.
"As much as we are not impressed with the painting, the matter had not yet been discussed in the church. The church is preoccupied with its leadership dispute that is in the Durban High Court, and has not reflected its views on this matter," he said.
"Mthembu spoke as a citizen of the country and his views do not represent the church's views."