South Africa: The Flag of Hate Is Lowered

analysis

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,...

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