Displaying the Old South African Apartheid Flag Constitutes Hate Speech
In a historic judgement, the Equality Court has ruled that it is now illegal to display the Apartheid flag in public.
Earlier this year in April, the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and the racist lobby group AfriForum took the matter of displaying the old Apartheid Flag in public, to be heard in front of the Equality Court. The NMF argued that the public display of the Apartheid flag amounted to hate speech under South Africa's Constitution while AfriForum felt that the banning of the Apartheid flag altogether would violate the right to freedom of expression. Today, however, presiding Judge Phineas Mojapelo has ruled in favor of a "carefully guided prohibition" of the public displaying of the Apartheid flag, News24 reports. reports.
In October of 2017, Black Monday protests began in South Africa. These protests, which were led by disgruntled White South Africans, called for the government to respond to the rising number of farm murders across the country. While farm murders are a legitimate concern in South Africa, some of the major criticisms of the topic have included the inflation of the actual murder statistics, especially as it pertains to White farmers, and the peddling of the dangerous idea that there is an alleged "white genocide" happening in South Africa.
What led to this particular court case in 2019 was the fact that a few of the Black Monday protesters displayed the old Apartheid flag—an act that caused outrage among many South Africans.
In his ruling, Judge Mojapelo said that, "People who display the old flag choose oppression over liberation." The judge continued by saying that the displaying of the Apartheid flag at the Black Monday protests "seriously violated the fundamental human rights of South Africans." He also added that, "The gratuitous display of the apartheid flag demonstrates a clear intention to be hurtful, harmful and incites harm, promotes and incites hatred against black people in terms of the Equality Act."
While the Equality Court's ruling cannot, of course, monitor what happens privately in the homes of South Africans, what is undeniably clear is that the public display of the Apartheid flag will now incur legal penalties for any individual defiant enough to do so.