'Contempt of court' flag case against AfriForum set for Tuesday

2019-09-02 22:06
AfriForum's Ernst Roets. (Isabel Venter, Netwerk24)

AfriForum's Ernst Roets. (Isabel Venter, Netwerk24)

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF), AfriForum and its deputy CEO Ernst Roets will face each other in court again on Tuesday in a contempt of court application following Roets' tweeting an image of the flag hours after an Equality Court judgment on the matter.

The foundation said it was resolute in seeing the matter through, and Roets confirmed to News24 that AfriForum would maintain its own stance regarding freedom of expression on the matter.

"Our legal team will be there and we will be opposing the matter," Roets told News24. 

AfriForum has also filed an application for leave to appeal Judge Phineas Mojapelo's ruling last week that the "gratuitous" display of the old flag amounted to hate speech, and is still waiting to hear if this will be granted.

Last Wednesday, hours after the ruling, Roets tweeted: "Did I just commit hate speech?" with an image of the old orange, white and blue flag.

READ: 'Did I just commit hate speech?' - AfriForum's Ernst Roets causes anger with his apartheid flag tweet

Judge Mojapelo ruled that the "gratuitous display" of the 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.

Roets said that while it waits for news of its attempt at appealing Judge Mojapelo's ruling, it is focusing on the NMF's contempt of court application.

He told News24 that a ruling of suspended imprisonment could be handed down against him in the contempt allegation case.

The NMF said on Monday: "The social cohesion of our country is not dependent on the fragility of those keen on division and contempt for our young democracy."

"It is incumbent on all of us who are committed to building the society described in the Constitution to come together and work constructively towards the achievement and realisation of all of the rights in the Bill of Rights," said a statement from its spokesperson Luzuko Koti. 

"In this work, it is at times necessary to fight against forces who would take us back to the nightmare of the past we fought to come out of."

The NMF has also asked people to bring their South African flags "and defend democracy" to the hearing with the hashtag #morethanaflag, posting images of the flag which was adopted in 1994, the year black South Africans could finally vote. 

AfriForum and Roets' view is that the tweet was not a "gratuitous display" of the old flag, but a question posed.

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Read more on:    afriforum  |  nelson mandela foundation  |  ernst roets  |  courts  |  hate speech  |  apartheid flag
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