Deputy President David Dabede Mabuza has come under heavy criticism following his comments in the National Council of Provinces that “we must be decent enough to keep our mouth shut” about reports that the Ugandan Parliament was considering reintroducing an anti-homosexuality bill.
Under the new law, courts will impose harsh sentences, including seven years in prison and the death penalty for being gay or their supporters.
When asked by KwaZulu-Natal DA MP Tim Brauteseth to condemn the human rights violations of LGBTIQ people in Uganda and other African countries, Mabuza said South Africa must respect other countries’ sovereignty. “You can’t impose your view of what you and your country think is right,” Mabuza said.
But this did not go down well with civil society groups.
“For Mabuza to say that South Africa must keep quiet and condone state-sanctioned homophobia goes against the global call to uphold human rights. South Africa, as a leader in human rights for sexual minorities, should be championing the decriminalisation of same-sex consensual conduct and the recognition of gender identity instead of saying we must shut our mouth,” said Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane, social justice and queer activist.
“His remarks emphasize that the South African Constitution is paper thin and that, in as much it speaks of the protection of the LGBTIQ, the situation of LGBTIQ people even within the country is deteriorating.
“The Ugandan LGBTIQ community needs the rest of African states to be vocal, thus telling us to shut up is to be ignorant of the gross human rights violations that have been meted out on LGBTIQ bodies. The reinstatement of the anti gay bill has grave consequences for Ugandan queers’ future,” said Mawethu Nkosana, the LGBTIQ advocacy head at Civicus, a global alliance of civil society organisations.
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