There were mixed views about a newspaper cartoon depicting
African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma preparing to
“rape” the country’s justice system, according to a report in Business Day.



The Zapiro cartoon that caused all the trouble

The ANC alliance, whose leaders were depicted in the cartoon holding down a woman labelled “justice system”, criticised Zapiro’s cartoon published in the Sunday Times, and demanded an apology from the newspaper.

In a statement the alliance said the cartoon’s depiction of the collective leadership of the tripartite alliance and “a string of errors” the newspaper continued to make in its reporting, called into question the integrity and credibility of Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya.

They said the publication of the cartoon amounted to an “abuse of press freedom”.

Makhanya could not be reached for comment.

Anton Harber, Wits University’s Caxton Professor of Journalism, said Zapiro (real name Jonathan Shapiro) “pushed the bounds of good taste and fair comment” in his “provocative” and “breathtaking” cartoon.

“I think in an open society we give space to our artists to be provocative and to push the envelope, even to shock us, even to offend us. He has certainly done that. Good for him, that’s what we want.”

He said the alliance’s reaction was expected but its leaders should realise that such comment is part of the nature of a free society.

When asked if he would have published the cartoon, the former editor said “yes”.

Tawana Kupe, Wits University Associate Professor of Media Studies, said cartoons were a “humorous take on things”, were subjective, not factual and took the nature of opinion.

He said there were two opinions on Zuma and the justice system: one was that he was undermining the justice system, and the other was that the system was raping him.

He said cartoonists produced work similar to works of fiction that should be taken for what it is.

Shapiro yesterday refused to apologise.

He told 702 Talk Radio that he felt Zuma and his supporters were “trying to rape” the judiciary and the tenets of the constitution.


Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.