The men, who were recorded by a local television station, are seen taking turns using paint to deface the portrait, which shows Zuma with his genitals exposed.
The vandalism was carried out as Zuma’s lawyers were in court asking for the gallery to be ordered to remove the painting. Zuma says it violates his constitutional right to dignity.
The portrait was part of an exhibition by satirical artist Brett Murray entitled “Hail to the Thief II”. The show includes a sculpted image of the ruling African National Congress party’s legacy, which was depicted as a golden, excessively coifed white woman.
Other pieces on display make statements suggesting the party makes promises it does not keep; that its supporters’ patience is running out; that government tenders are for the benefit of the party; and that the benefits of democracy are for a select few.
Paintings show the ANC crest as being for sale and sold; that ANC leaders are a predatory elite; that they are not to be held to account; and that the views of white South Africans are merely background noise.