Home affairs to appeal Ugandan gay activist’s order

2014-02-20 08:57

The department of home affairs is seeking leave to appeal an interim court order that Ugandan gay rights activist Paul Semugoma be allowed to enter South Africa, it has said.

Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said yesterday that Semugoma’s visitor’s visa had expired which was why he had been prohibited from entering the country, in terms of the Immigration Act.

News agency Agence France-Presse reported earlier that Semugoma was detained at OR Tambo International Airport in Joburg when he landed there on a flight from Zimbabwe on Monday.

According to the report, Semugoma applied for a South African work permit in 2012 but the application was lost twice. Home affairs then issued him with a receipt for travel.

Several South African activist groups called for Semugoma to be released. They said if he was deported to Uganda he could be at risk because of that country’s proposed anti-gay laws.

Mamoepa denied that the department sought to ignore the interim court order although its legal representatives were not present when it was granted.

“In this context, we appeal to the public to avoid imputing motive and communicating falsehoods regarding the reasons for refusing Dr Semugoma entry into South Africa.”

AFP also reported that South African officials tried to put Semugoma on a flight yesterday, but he refused to board.

He has reportedly been volunteering at the Anova Health Institute in Joburg for the past three years.

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