AfriForum Receives Backlash for Fighting Equality Court’s Ruling That Labelled Apartheid Flag as Hate Speech

AfriForum Receives Backlash for Fighting Equality Court’s Ruling That Labelled Apartheid Flag as Hate Speech

  • AfriForum applied to overturn the decision made by the Equality Court that ruled displaying the apartheid flag is hate speech
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal will attend to the matter in Bloemfontein during the course of the week
  • CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets said they are fighting for the use of the flag because of the underlying principle of free speech

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BLOEMFONTEIN - Afrikaans civil rights movement, AfriForum, is being lambasted online for wanting to display the South African apartheid flag. Equality Court made a ruling that declared the display of the flag a form of hate speech regardless of whether it is being done in public or private places.

The movement’s application to overturn the ruling made by the Equality Court that declared the displaying of the flag as hate speech angered South Africans. The Supreme Court of Appeal will attend to the matter in Bloemfontein.

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AfriForum, backlash, apartheid flag, Supreme court, Nelson Mandela Foundation
AfriForum is challenging the court's decision to declare displaying the apartheid flag as hate speech. Image: Phill Magakoe/Getty
Source: Getty Images

Despite the immense backlash, CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets said the group and its members do not display the flag out of hate but described it as free speech. He told TimesLIVE that AfriForum is contesting the matter not over the flag but because of the underlying principle of freedom of speech.

In 2019, the court declared that displaying the apartheid flag was a form of hate speech. The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the SA Human Rights Commission put forth the matter for court consideration.

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Judge president Phineas Mojapelo ruled that the flag was offensive and racist. He added that the flag could be used for artistic, academic and journalistic purposes.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation took AfriForum to the Equality Court after its members displayed the apartheid flag in 2017 during its marches against farm killings. IOL reports that Judge Mojapelo said people who display the flag intend to showcase white supremacy against black people.

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South Africans up in arms

Residents are outraged over AfriForum’s application to overturn the Equality Court’s ruling:

@ArisDanikas said:

“In Europe and specifically Germany, the use of the Nazi flag is prohibited by law. Yet in South Africa, Afriforum wants the old flag and symbol of white supremacy to be freely displayed in South Africa? This is shocking.”

@cashtowk wrote:

“If the court grants them their wishes then we shall continue singing struggle songs raw and no court can stop us.”

@PhaladiSd commented:

“Sounds like a backward thinking approach by the AfriForum. We need a paradigm shift from the previous pains. That is a painful reminder of our lives/history, I agree. We need to co-exist, be diverse, respect each other's cultures and equally share in the country's wealth.”

Afriforum’s Ernst Roets won’t back down on apartheid flag statements

In a related matter, Briefly News reported AfriForum deputy chief executive, Ernst Roets, is refusing to back down when it comes to statements he made regarding his use of the South African apartheid flag.

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Roets posted an image of the flag soon after the North Gauteng Court ruled that the flag’s display, bar for artistic, journalistic or academic purposes, is banned. Subsequently, the Nelson Mandela Foundation issued a court order against Roets for defying the court’s decision.

However, Roets has now come forward to state that he stands by his decision to share the flag on social media.

Source: Briefly News

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