Columnist and political analyst's fight against the law banning hate speech reached the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, where top advocates debated the balance between the rights to dignity and freedom of expression.
In a lengthy sitting of the Constitutional Court on Tuesday, advocate Kate Hofmeyr reminded the justices what kicked off a 12-year legal battle when former columnist, radio host and ambassador Jon Qwelane wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Sun calling on politicians to reverse the legalisation of gay marriage.
"He told them that homosexuality was responsible for the rapid degeneration of values and traditions in society. He scoffed that you regularly see men kissing other men in public, walking holding hands," said Hofmeyr, an evidence leader at the Zondo Commission who was in the Constitutional Court representing the Psychological Society of South Africa.
"With those words, he took an intimate moment shared between people in love and debased it. He dehumanised the community. He likened homosexuality to bestiality and he asked rhetorically when 'some idiot' would demand to marry an animal."
Qwelane wants the Constitutional Court to declare section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Pepud), which prohibits hate speech against...