ANC bid to win court battle on streets
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has instructed all regional leaders in Gauteng to mobilise and transport members for tomorrow's "mother of all marches" to the Goodman Gallery.
Sowetan understands the directive to mobilise ANC members from "the closest regions" was given to provincial branches yesterday.
The party intends bringing 50000 people to Johannesburg to protests against the controversial portraits depicting President Jacob Zuma with exposed genitals.
On Friday Mantashe announced plans to march outside the Johannesburg High Court, where crowds have gathered to support Zuma who was trying to interdict the gallery and City Pressto remove the painting and apologise.
Mantashe said the court battle must be won on the streets first.
Mantashe has also called for a boycott of the newspaper until it removes the painting from display and apologises. The newspaper was the first to publish the painting.
Its editor, Ferial Haffajee, yesterday apologised for the hurt caused by the paper's publishing of the portrait, but refused to remove the image from the City Press website.
In her column Haffajee addressed Zuma's daughter, Duduzile, saying: "I understand that what is a work of satire to me is a portrait of pain to you."
The ANC, Zuma and his children feel the painting was distasteful, insulting and an infringement of his right to human dignity.
ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said all the logistics related to the march would be communicated today.
The SA Communist Party resolved at its central committee at the weekend to join the march to force the gallery owners to show remorse for displaying the painting titled The Spear.
The party's general-secretary, Blade Nzimande, will today lead a delegation to City Press offices, where he hopes to reach consensus with the newspaper on the "offensive" nature of Cape Town artist Brett Murray's painting.
"It would perhaps help them better understand the outrage of our people," Nzimande said yesterday.
He acknowledged the importance of freedom of expression and that of artistic expression in a democracy, but warned it was not an "abstract, universalist right".
"The gallery must acknowledge it hurt not only the president and his family, but millions of other people. Being an adult requires that you admit when you've done something wrong," he said.
Nzimande said it was disconcerting that sections of society in the country have taken black people's gesture of reconciliation as a sign of weakness.
He also downplayed intimidation tactics on their part by calling on people not to buy the newspaper.
The ANC Youth League has raised concern at the ruling party's "increasing intolerance of differing views".