A South African preacher; Oscar Bougardt was found guilty by a Cape Town court of making statements that discriminate and incite hatred against LGBTQ persons. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison, and had his licence suspended for five years, for contempt of court after he disregarded a court order barring him from making anti-gay comments.
Judge Lee Bozalek, in the Equality Court in Cape Town on Friday, said Bougardt’s comments advocated hatred and were clearly discriminatory. Oscar Bougardt later reached a settlement with the SA Human Rights Commission in 2014 following anti-gay statements. He agreed to stop making hateful comments about the LGBTQ community
He however continued, referring to gay people as “perverted”. He also advocated for criminalisation, saying they should “deal with them like they do in Nigeria”. Bougardt also declared that the drought crippling Cape Town should be blamed on “wickedness and homosexuality and church leaders who fail to preach the Bible and sodomite abomination”.
In January 2017, Bougardt told News24 that, like anti-gay US pastor Steven Anderson, he believed homosexuality was a sin. “Why should we be tolerant of their criminal lifestyle? Ninety-nine percent of paedophiles stem from homosexuality. I’m saying so because it is proven that 99% of the paedophiles have a homosexual background. They are blaming their previous lifestyle on what happened. Go and read up on it.”
“If I was the president of my country I would lock them in cages where they belong. They don’t even deserve a prison cell,” according to a transcript of his remarks, read out in court.
The judge said the pastor’s statement “advocates the criminalisation of gay sex, including by implication punishment by death through stoning”. “Not only do such statements dehumanise gays and lesbian people, they advocate hatred towards them,” Bozalek said.
South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that recognises gay rights and the only one that allows same-sex marriages. In September 2016, South Africa banned an anti-gay American pastor Steven Anderson from entering the country, after an outcry from rights groups over his characterisation of gays as “sodomites” and “paedophiles”. It is evident that South African laws understands the true meaning of human rights and is prepared to stand against any form of violation and discrimination on its citizens, even if they are gay.