Gigaba promises to act if US anti-gay pastor 'spews hate speech' in SA

2016-07-28 18:35
Pastor Steven Anderson (Screengrab)

Pastor Steven Anderson (Screengrab)

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Cape Town – The Home Affairs Department will not hesitate to take action against anti-gay US pastor Steven Anderson if he commits hate speech on local soil, Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

Gigaba said the department had no legal standing at present to stop him from entering the country for his event on September 18 and 19.

Provisions of the immigration act only applied where someone had committed a crime locally or internationally.

"But should they come to South Africa and therefore spew hate speech, we would then take necessary action."

Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, made headlines last month when he posted a video after the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, where gay people were targeted and 49 were killed.

After the shooting Anderson said: "The good news is that there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world."

Anderson plans to hold a "soul-winning marathon" in Johannesburg.

An online petition, calling on the department to stop him from promoting hate speech in the country, has garnered around 7 000 signatures.

In a letter addressed to Gigaba on Monday, SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said he had received complaints about Anderson’s proposed visit.

The commission interpreted the immigration act as empowering the department to prohibit entry to foreigners categorised as "undesirable".

It had requested a written response from the department on its decision in this matter by Thursday [today].

Gigaba responded that they were preparing for a meeting with the SAHRC and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

"The other option is for the community, as well as the SA Human Rights Commission, to take legal action to interdict the person from entering the republic," he said.

If successful, the department could then act to implement the interdict.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  gay rights
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