Stone Murray to death’ backtrack

20 June, 2012

AFTER publicly calling for artist Brett Murray to be stoned to death, the once defiant Nazareth Baptist Church spokesman, has been forced to eat humble pie by the Johannesburg High Court.

Enoch Mthembu, of the Shembe church, has complied with the court’s order that he formally retract his statement.

I unequivocally retract this statement and its imputations. I also confirm that the statements were made in my personal capacity and that I did not reflect the view of the Shembe church.

”Every person, including Murray, deserves to have their right to life respected. And it was not my intention that people should act on my statement,” he said in a retraction filed in court on June 8. Mthembu had made the comments in response to Murray’s painting The Spear, which depictedPresident Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed.

Mthembu called for Murray to be stoned to death because he believed that the painting was an insult to the president and to black people.

Lawyer Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti’s early appeal to Mthembu to retract his statement was ignored and an interdict prohibiting Mthembu from inciting violence was issued - but he refused to retract his statement.

Mthembu yesterday said the matter had now been put to rest. “I respect the law and the constitution of this country. And for the sake of peace we have to put this issue to rest now.”

But he continues to believe that South Africa “does not need” people who are disrespectful of other cultures.

Mthembu agreed to the order by the court and contributed towards our legal costs,” said Ampofo-Anti.