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SA to stay silent on Uganda's anti-gay law

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says SA doesn’t comment on legislation of other countries.

A rainbow flag, representing equality for members of the LGBTI community. Picture: Stock.xchng.

CAPE TOWN - The South African government won't be adding its voice to the outcry over new laws criminalising homosexuality in Uganda and Nigeria.

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says the government doesn't comment on legislation of other countries.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni this week signed into law new anti-gay legislation which allows for harsher punishment for homosexuals.

The new law will see gay people jailed for homosexual acts.

While the move has been strongly condemned by many countries, South Africa has been largely silent over the issue.

Pandor was asked why government hasn't spoken out.

"We don't comment on legislation of other countries, we comment on ours. The position of South Africa as to sexual orientation and the rights of equality is very clear."

DIRCO TO PURSUE THE MATTER

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says the fact that South Africa's ambassador to Uganda is Jon Qwelane won't prevent government from asking Kampala why it's instituting harsh laws against gay people.

Qwelane is currently fighting a claim that he committed hate speech when he wrote a column saying 'being gay is not okay'.

On Tuesday, the department said it was taking up the issue of homophobic laws with all countries that have enacted them.

Dirco's Clayson Monyela says this is not about individual views.

"This is a country position and we've got many diplomats. Obviously in Uganda our ambassador is Jon Qwelane, but he works with a team. So when we do this sort of work, it's not necessarily limited to one individual."

Meanwhile, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has called for a boycott of Uganda following the legislation

Branson says he called for the boycott because the new law is unacceptable.

"I just felt that life in prison for not reporting someone who is gay would result in a similar thing that happened in Malaysia where the opposition leader of Malaysia was imprisoned by the president and they used the fact that he was gay to get him locked up and out of the political scene."

Branson says he called for the boycott because the new law is unacceptable.

"I just felt that life in prison for not reporting someone who is gay would result in a similar thing that happened in Malaysia where the opposition leader of Malaysia was imprisoned by the president and they used the fact that he was gay to get him locked up and out of the political scene."

Branson says he called for the boycott because the new law is unacceptable.

"I just felt that life in prison for not reporting someone who is gay would result in a similar thing that happened in Malaysia where the opposition leader of Malaysia was imprisoned by the president and they used the fact that he was gay to get him locked up and out of the political scene."