Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro and ANC president Jacob Zuma may well meet
in court over the controversial Sunday Times cartoon that depicts Zuma
about to rape the justice system, write Werner Swart and Nkululeko Ncana in The Times.

The presidential frontrunner yesterday told his legal team, which is already dealing with several defamation lawsuits against the media, to study the cartoon, which first appeared at the weekend.

It shows Zuma unzipping his trousers while his alliance partners hold down the Lady of Justice and egg him on.

This would not be the first time Zuma has tried to drag Shapiro, who draws under the pen name Zapiro, to court.

In 2006, Zuma’s lawyers instigated a R15-million lawsuit against Shapiro over three cartoons that appeared during Zuma’s much-publicised rape trial — in which he was acquitted.

Zuma’s spokeswoman, Liesl Gottert, confirmed to The Times yesterday that the legal team handling his media issues would discuss the cartoon in the next few days.

“He [Zuma] instructed his lawyers to study the cartoon and, if they also feel his rights were violated, to institute a claim,” she said.

Gottert said claims would be made against Shapiro and the Sunday Times.

When asked about the lawsuits against other media houses, Gottert said they were going ahead but court dates had not been set.

Shapiro said he would not apologise for the cartoon.

“I stand by the cartoon and I won’t apologise. If he does decide to sue me, then I will fight it,” he said.

Shapiro, who on Monday night won the SA Comedy Award for the best humorous cartoonist , said he would start working on a follow-up to the cartoon that sparked the latest outcry.

He explained : “I do what I have to do as a cartoonist. I have to join debates, stir things up and create new debates.”

He reiterated that the cartoon showed how Zuma and his alliance partners had attempted to undermine the credibility and independence of the judiciary.

“It [the cartoon] was not trying to be rude, but it was about showing the dire situation that the country finds itself in,” he said .

ý ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema yesterday threatened to take “strong action” against Shapiro.

“That cartoon was disrespectful of the leadership of the ANC and the alliance, and our problem is that there has been an emergence of some attitude from white journalists, who want to project African leadership as irresponsible people who can’t take responsibility.”

He said Zuma would “never rape the judiciary”.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times website.