This week the Equality Court ruled that gratuitous displays of the Apartheid flag would constitute hate speech.
Shortly after the ruling was handed down by Deputy Judge President of the South Gauteng Division of the High Court, Justice Phineas Mojapelo, AfriForum’s head of policy and action, Ernst Roets, tweeted an image of the flag with the caption “Did I just commit hate speech?”.
The AfriForum head then added (many hours later) that his query was academic in nature as he is a “scholar of Constitutional Law” and was completing his doctorate.
Today the Nelson Mandela Foundation has said that it will be filing an urgent application to find Roets in contempt of court.
“Less than 24 hours after the seminal ruling, the Deputy CEO of Afriforum, Mr. Ernst Roets, gratuitously, and publicly, displayed the flag, under the pretext of academic debate. The Equality Act would only protect a bona fide (good faith) display, not a mala fide (bad faith) display. The Foundation is of the view that Mr. Roets’ actions are in bad faith and in contempt of Court. It is also disrespectful to a senior Judge, who is the Deputy Judge President of the High Court,” the foundation wrote in a statement.
Roets said that he was speaking with his legal team and would respond to the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s announcement “soon”.
The leader did defend his tweet on 702 during an interview with Nicolas Bauer maintaining that the tweet was an academic question.
It should be noted that while the Apartheid flag has not been banned, it can only be displayed for academic, journalistic and artistic purposes provided it is in the public interest.
Roets said earlier this week that AfriForum would appeal the Equality Court’s ruling.
You can read the full ruling in the PDF at the bottom of this webpage on the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s website.