JOHANNESBURG: On 21 August 2019 the Equality Court ruled that gratuitous displays of the apartheid-era national flag constitutes hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (‘The Equality Act’). The application was brought by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and opposed by AfriForum.
Less than 24 hours after the seminal ruling, the Deputy CEO of AfriForum, Mr. Ernst Roets, gratuitously, and publicly, displayed the flag, under the pretext of academic debate. The Equality Act would only protect a bona fide (good faith) display, not a mala fide (bad faith) display. The Foundation is of the view that Mr. Roets’ actions are in bad faith and in contempt of Court. It is also disrespectful to a senior Judge, who is the Deputy Judge President of the High Court.
During a press briefing outside Court after the ruling, the Foundation’s CEO, Mr. Sello Hatang, extended a hand of reconciliation to AfriForum, which was represented by Mr. Roets, and invited it to work together with the Foundation in building our nation. It should further be noted that during the hearing of the matter, the Foundation advised the Court that should it be successful, it would not seek a costs order against AfriForum. Costs usually follow the result in legal proceedings, and the Foundation could have obtained a significant costs order for its legal team, which included a team of counsel and attorneys. The Foundation elected not to seek costs against AfriForum, in the spirit of reconciliation
We will now be proceeding with an urgent application in the High Court, to declare Mr. Roets in contempt of court. Our Founder, former President Nelson Mandela, believed passionately in justice and in the rule of law. So do we.
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