Qwelane to appeal judgment on his gay-bashing column

20 April 2018 - 14:38
By Ernest Mabuza
Image: iStock Court.

The high court in Johannesburg on Friday granted former columnist Jon Qwelane leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal the whole judgment and order of the high court passed in July last year.

In that judgment‚ the court found the statements Qwelane made in his Sunday Sun column were hurtful‚ harmful‚ incited harm and propagated hatred and amounted to hate speech.

In his July 20 2008 column‚ titled "Call me names - but gay is not okay”‚ Qwelane said: “Homosexuals and their backers will call me names‚ printable and not‚ for stating as I have always done their 'lifestyle and sexual preferences'‚ but quite frankly I don't give a damn: wrong is wrong!”

Qwelane also said: “I do pray that some day a bunch of politicians with their heads affixed firmly to their necks will muster the balls to rewrite the Constitution of this country‚ to excise those sections which give licence to men 'marrying' other men‚ and ditto women.”

The high court also ordered Qwelane to tender an unconditional written apology to the Lesbian‚ Gay‚ Bisexual‚ Transsexual and Intersex community.

The high court had dismissed Qwelane’s constitutional challenge against the Equality Act.

Qwelane had argued that he was entitled to utter the offending statements because these were protected by section 16 of the Constitution‚ which guaranteed freedom of expression.

Qwelane’s application to appeal the judgment and the order was not opposed by the parties in the case‚ which included the minister of justice and the South African Human Rights Commission.

In his judgment granting leave to appeal on Friday‚ Judge Seun Moshidi said there were reasonable prospects on appeal.

“The Equality Court proceedings (are) relatively novel in our democratic dispensation‚ and it is in the interests of justice that some level of certainty is achieved by appellate courts‚” Mosidi said.

Qwelane’s lawyers‚ Jurgens Bekker Attorneys‚ welcomed Mosidi’s decision.

“We are satisfied with the ruling and shall proceed to prepare Mr Qwelane’s appeal.”