South Africa: Gratuitous Display of Apartheid Flag is Hate Speech - Equality Court

The six South African flags that have flown on the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town through the course of history, the oldest at the right and the current flag at the left.
21 August 2019

Cape Town — The Equality Court has ruled that gratuitous display of the flag used during the apartheid era constitutes hate speech and incites hatred against black people in terms of the Equality Act, Eyewitness News writes.

The judgment comes after a complaint was lodged by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the South African Human Rights Commission after reports emerged that demonstrators bore the flag during Black Monday protests against farm murders in 2017.

Lobby group AfriForum, which was vocal in its opposition of a ban on the flag ahead of today's case, stated previously that displays of the old flag did not constitute hate speech. Judge Mojapelo, who handed down today's ruling, said in April: "[AfriForum] acknowledged that the display of the flag had the potential to cause distress. My take is that they should understand the emotion that those who support the sought order are going through."

After handing down his judgment, Judge Mojapelo said that while display of the apartheid flag during the Black Monday protests was a serious violation of fundamental human rights, his decision today was "a carefully guided prohibition, not a ban" on the old flag.

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