JOHANNESBURG, Nov 15 – A South African minister called for a legal ban on insulting a sitting president to counter what he said was a lack of respect from white South Africans, a daily newspaper reported Thursday.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande told The Star it was time South Africa came up with a law making it illegal to insult a head of state.
“We are being undermined by whites,” he said. “It’s like we (blacks) don’t have a culture.”
The paper said that Nzimande’s comments made him the first senior politician to publicly back a call for such legislation.
His argument was that whites had pushed their black counterparts to the limit with their disrespectful treatment of President Jacob Zuma, the paper reported.
Nzimande’s party, the South African Communist Party (SACP), an ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), has reportedly called for a law to protect the president in the wake of a barrage of insults targeted at Zuma.
The 70-year-old president is often the butt of jokes by South Africa’s satirical cartoonists and painters.
Last month he dropped a legal bid over a cartoon showing him about to rape a blindfolded Lady Justice figure painting him as a “sexual deviant”.
In May, a painting depicting him with his genitals exposed sparked a furore that saw vandals deface the work, Zuma supporters march on the exhibiting gallery and the ANC go to court demanding a ban on the painting.