The SACP welcomes the decision of the Films and Publications Board (FPB) to classify the offensive painting by Brett Murray as material not suitable or to be viewed by children under the age of 16. We also welcome that any display of this painting (which the SACP is completely opposed to) must also indicate that it may be sensitive to some adult viewers.
The decision by the FPB is particularly welcomed by the SACP as it affirms the fact that we are not a pornographic society, but a society with moral values. The FPB decision also underlines the fact that we should not turn South African society into a refuge for some unresolved issues of sexual libido or private erotic pre-occupations of some individual artists.
As the SACP we are however concerned about the hesitancy of the FBP to report to the police all those who may violate this classification. Whilst we agree that we need to use this unfortunate incident for broader educational awareness, nevertheless those who violate this classification must be reported to the police and be charged accordingly.
The SACP also wishes to re-affirm its commitment to freedom of artistic expression, but at the same time to emphasize that art must never ever be used as a weapon of insult and harm to anyone’s dignity. Similarly art and freedom to its expression and practice must at all times be sensitive to South Africa’s many cultures and also to the kind of moral values we seek to foster as part of building a non-racial, non-sexist and socially cohesive society.
To the SACP it is also clear that that the anti-majoritarian (and often racist) liberal offensive has become so desperate such that it is prepared to go to any lengths to try and discredit the President and black majority rule in our country, including turning pornographic and distasteful material into a political weapon.
In particular we need to mobilize against attempts by this anti-majoritarian liberal offensive (which now also manifest in its thorough disrespect for the cultures of the majority of our people) to vulgarize and distort our Constitution by seeking to elevate freedom of expression above human dignity.
The decision of the FPB re-affirms the correctness of the decision of the Alliance to mobilize around this offensive portrait, and to restate the importance to continue mass mobilisation to build the kind of moral and caring society we are committed to. In our ongoing mobilisation we must also seek to expose to the widest sections of South African people the liberal offensive for what it is - a thorough disrespect and an attitude of disdain towards the majority of South Africans.
Statement issued by Malesela Maleka, SACP spokesperson, June 1 2012