Nelson Mandela Foundation to appeal old flag tweet court ruling

18 September 2019 - 06:40 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
AfriForum's Ernst Roets tweeted a picture of the old South African flag just hours after the Equality Court ruled against its gratuitous display.
AfriForum's Ernst Roets tweeted a picture of the old South African flag just hours after the Equality Court ruled against its gratuitous display.
Image: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier

The Nelson Mandela Foundation will appeal the high court's decision to dismiss its application to hold AfriForum’s Ernst Roets in contempt of court for tweeting a picture of the old South African flag.

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.

On Tuesday, South Gauteng High Court judge Colin Lamont found that Roets' tweet - which contained a picture of the flag and questioned whether posting it was hate speech - was not in contempt of court.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it noted Lamont's judgment - however, the organisation said it had, after studying the judgment, instructed its legal team to prepare a conditional application for leave to appeal, which includes an application for direct access to the Constitutional Court.

“Gratuitous displays of the old flag express a desire for black people to be relegated to labour reserves, a pining for the killing, the torture, the abductions, a melancholia for the discrimination, the death squads, the curfews and the horrific atrocities committed under the flag,” the foundation said in a statement.

It said while the right to freedom of expression is widely protected in South African law, it did not protect the right to hate speech and did not trump the right to human dignity.

“That is so because of our history, which is a painful one,” the foundation said.


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