Jon Qwelane found guilty of hate speech

A South Gauteng High Court has found a former South African ambassador to Uganda, Jon Qwelane, guilty of hate speech.

He has been ordered to apologise to the gay community for his 2008 newspaper column titled “Call Me Names, But Gay Is Not OK” which the court found to be harmful. The South African Human Rights Commission says the judgement in the case against Jon Qwelane highlights the tendency for people to hide hate speech behind freedom of speech; adding that the fear of hate speech is a daily reality for those living within the LGBTI community.

Although Qwelane has been ill and was not in court, he has been ordered to write his apology within 30 days. He was also ordered to pay the legal costs for the case, including the postponements. His constitutional challenge of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act hate speech clause was also dismissed.

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