AfriForum’s Roets in hot water over tweeting old flag

Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Sello Hatang  together with Ernst Roets, AfriForum Head of Policy and Action, speaks to the media after Judge President Phineas Mojapelo delivered judgment in the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s so-called 'apartheid flag' case in the Equality Court sitting in the High Court in Johannesburg. 21 August 2019. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive Sello Hatang together with Ernst Roets, AfriForum Head of Policy and Action, speaks to the media after Judge President Phineas Mojapelo delivered judgment in the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s so-called 'apartheid flag' case in the Equality Court sitting in the High Court in Johannesburg. 21 August 2019. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) says it will file an urgent application in the high court to declare Roets in contempt of court.

After the Equality Court ruled that the display of the apartheid-era national flag constitutes hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination, the deputy CEO of AfriForum, Ernst Roets, continued to display the flag publicly on Twitter – a few hours after Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo’s ruling.

The complaint was lodged by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The NMF will file an urgent application in the high court.

“We will now be proceeding with an urgent application in the high court, to declare Mr Roets in contempt of court,” spokesperson Luzuko Koti said.

In his ruling Mojapelo said the current flag promoted unity among different sections of the new nation.

“When a new democratic dispensation was forged in 1994, what South Africa needed was a new identity which broke away from her racial past, in which unity had been identified and defined as unity between the Afrikaans and English-speaking [white] populations only. The current flag was accepted to unite the nation, Mojapelo said.

The court found that “any gratuitous display of the old flag, besides being racist and discriminatory, demonstrates a clear intention to be hurtful” and “promotes and propagates hatred against black people”.

The SAHRC welcomed the judge’s ruling.

Meanwhile AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said it was a lie that the NMF had approached AfriForum to work together.

“The truth is that the NMF rejected AfriForum’s request,” Kriel said.

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