by Siviwe Zibi
Judge Phineas Mojapelo made the judgment on Wednesday at the South Gauteng High Court and said the display of the apartheid flag does harm and should be considered as hate speech, unfair discrimination, and harassment. This comes after Nelson Mandela Foundation made an application to the Equality Court against the display of the old flag by farmers who were protesting in October 2017 “Black Monday”.
This flag was used during the entirety of the apartheid era as well, leading to it being labeled the apartheid flag, it was replaced by the current flag of South Africa in 1994 with the commencement of the republic’s transitional constitution and the end of apartheid.
The Equality Court ruled that the Afriforum failed to look at the case from the perspective of victims who are hurt by the gratuitous display of the apartheid flag. They intend to insult and awaken feelings of white supremacy against black people. Those who display the old flag they choose oppression over liberation.
Judge Mojapelo said displaying the old flag does more than harm and caused distress to black people. It makes no difference to my finding that some isolated person somewhere may experience it differently. The apartheid flag demeans and impairs people’s dignity.
“It could be used for artistic‚ academic and journalistic expression in the public interest,” the judge said.
He further said that Afriforum’s defence of freedom of speech is illogical and is therefore dismissed and he urged Afriforum to help build an inclusive South Africa, where all citizens are united in their diversity.
Nelson Mandela Foundation Executive Sello Hatang said they are pleased with the judgment and hope to work with Afriforum to help build a more united, understanding South Africa.
Ernst Roets for Afriforum said they don’t entirely agree with today’s judgment as they don’t feel the mere display of apartheid flag constitutes hate speech. However, he stated that they are open to working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to help build South Africa.