ANC boycott call 'backfires'
The ANC and SACP's call to boycott Sunday newspaper City Press after it published a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his private parts showing might have backfired.
Members of the public went out in force yesterday to buy the newspaper, which even got the backing of the unlikeliest supporter - expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
Malema even wrote a column in the newspaper criticising the call for a boycott.
Last week, ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu told protesters outside the Johannesburg High Court not to buy the newspaper because of its refusal to take down the controversial The Spear painting from its website.
The ANC also threatened tostop advertising in the newspaper and asked subscribers to cancel their subscriptions.
Yesterday, Mthembu said ANC, SACP, Cosatu and ANC Youth League members would march tomorrow to the Goodman Gallery "in numbers in support of another human being's dignity".
By lunch time yesterday, City Press was sold out in many outlets and the hash tag #City Press was trending on Twitter.
In his piece, Malema said he would buy the newspaper because "of all the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights, the right we should defend with our lives is the right to hold different opinions on how we view society and how we think certain matters should be handled".
"Banning newspapers simply because we disagree with them, and boycotting them on the basis of believing that our conception of truth is absolute, poses a real threat to our democracy."
City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said it was too early to determine the impact of the boycott, but added she was aware that posters had been put up at a few shops calling for customers not to buy the paper.
Tweeters posted photographs of their copies of the newspaper in a show of support. Some said they had bought up to five copies each.
Talk Radio 702 presenter David O'Sullivan tweeted that the boycott call had made him a subscriber.
"I always buy #City Press at the shop, but it took Gwede Mantashe to persuade me to get a subscription instead," he tweeted.
Johannesburg resident Nikki Heyman went to three shops, only to find the newspaper sold out.
Pick 'n Pay Rosebank manager David Pitso said the paper was sold out in his store for the first time yesterday.
"We normally don't sell out City Press, only today," he said. - Additional reporting Sapa