SAHRC: Qwelane matter about constitutionality of Section 10 of Equality Act

The Human Rights Commission has been joined by various organisations to challenge a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the columnist’s appeal of an Equality Court judgment.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Constitutional Court has not yet indicated when it will hand down judgment in the case involving former High Commissioner to Uganda Jon Qwelane in a hate speech matter containing anti-gay sentiments.

Qwelane wrote an article titled Call me names but gay is not okay which was published in the Sunday Sun in 2008.

The Human Rights Commission has been joined by various organisations to challenge a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the columnist’s appeal of an Equality Court judgment.

The Equality Court found that Qwelane’s words amounted to hate speech and ordered that he apologise. However, he chose to challenge the ruling at the SCA.

The Psychological Society of South Africa is among the entities admitted as a friend of the court.

The group argued that the article must be understood in the context of high levels of violence and persecution against LGBTI people in South Africa and that Qwelane’s words were an attack on the dignity and equality of the community.

Many South Africans were outraged by the piece, which saw over 1,000 complaints laid with the Press Ombudsman.

The Human Rights Commission wants the SCA’s ruling to be overturned.

Commissioner Andre Guam: “This matter before the Constitutional Court is about whether or not Section 10 of the Equality Act is constitutional or unconstitutional. The commission is arguing that it is indeed constitutional.”

A date for the judgment has not yet been announced.

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