An appeal by former ambassador to Uganda and controversial columnist Jon Qwelane has resulted in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) declaring as unconstitutional, Section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Pepuda).
Qwelane had been found guilty of hate speech in 2017 following a newspaper column he wrote with the title Call me names, but gay is not okay which included praise for former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's stance on homosexuality.
The SCA has overturned the South Gauteng High Court's ruling against Qwelane.
It's declared the current definition of hate speech unconstitutional, finding that a comment is only hate speech if incitement to cause harm can be proven. The order will have to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court before the act can be amended.
CapeTalk's Africa Melane gets a response from the chair of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Professor Bongani Majola.
He says the ruling is "not a complete loss" because it will help to clarify the implementation of this piece of legislation - something the SAHRC has been saying is necessary for some time.
In a way the decision is a welcome decision in so far as the case is going to to to the highest court, the Constitutional Court, for a final clarification of how we should go about hate speech.— Prof. Bongani Majola, Chairperson - South African Human Rights Commission
For us, this case also means that we've got to sit down and decide what we do with pending cases that we've already initiated and cases that we are about to initiate.— Prof. Bongani Majola, Chairperson - South African Human Rights Commission
Professor Majola adds that this ruling does not exonerate Qwelane from wrongdoing and the commission will now have to decide what to do about his case in particular.
To listen to the full discussion, click on the link below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'SCA hate speech ruling does not exonerate Jon Qwelane from wrongdoing'