AfriForum's Ernst Roets off the hook for tweeting picture of old flag

17 September 2019 - 11:44 By TimesLIVE
AfriForum's Ernst Roets tweeted a picture of the old South African flag just hours after Equality Court ruled against its display. File photo.
AfriForum's Ernst Roets tweeted a picture of the old South African flag just hours after Equality Court ruled against its display. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier

A bid to have AfriForum’s Ernst Roets held in contempt of court for tweeting a picture of the old South African flag was dismissed on Tuesday.

Roets found himself in hot water after tweeting the image shortly after the Equality Court ruled that the gratuitous display of the flag constituted hate speech.

The court did, however, say the flag could be used for artistic, academic and journalistic expression, in the public interest.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation went to court, arguing that the tweet clashed with the ruling by the Equality Court and amounted to hate speech.

The foundation charged that Roets gratuitously and publicly displayed the flag on Twitter under the pretext of academic debate. In the tweet, Roets posted a picture of the flag, asking: "Did I just commit hate speech?"

Speaking outside the court earlier in September, Roets said his and AfriForum’s argument was that the complaint by the foundation had no merit.

“We will be arguing for the whole thing to be thrown out but, in the alternative, if the matter continues, we will argue firstly that it is not urgent and also that the comment I made was completely within the realm and the ambit of the judgment,” Roets said.

The Equality Court, sitting in Gauteng, dismissed the application by the foundation on Tuesday, ruling that Roets had not been in contempt of court.


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