The Equality Court in Johannesburg has ruled that gratuitous displays of the old South African flag constitute hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment. The ruling is a victory for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which brought the application. But, suggested Judge Phineas Mojapelo, it should also be seen as a victory for the dream of a non-racial, united South Africa.
The gratuitous display of the old South African flag, even in private homes, is now considered a form of prohibited hate speech.
This is the crux of a judgment handed down in the Equality Court on Wednesday 21 August, following an application brought by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
"All South Africans have a reason to be relieved and to celebrate today's judgment as it affirms our rights to not suffer hate speech, our rights to dignity and our rights to a meaningful freedom of speech," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement following Judge Phineas Mojapelo's ruling.
The judgment was broadly welcomed by political parties, with only the Freedom Front Plus striking a different note in a statement describing it as a "biased decision that undermines reconciliation and nation-building in South Africa".
No oral arguments were heard in the matter,...