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JHB Pride calls on AfriForum to retract comments on rainbow flag

AfriForum argues that if the apartheid flag is banned then the rainbow flag could be done away with as many South Africans have a problem with homosexuality.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Pride has called for the "immediate retraction" of AfriForum’s comments on the flag of the LGBTIQ community.

AfriForum argues that if the apartheid flag is banned then the rainbow flag could be done away with as many South Africans have a problem with homosexuality.

AfriForum’s Ernst Roets on Saturday said: “The argument on why the old South African flag should be banned is because of its offence… there are many polls which found the majority of people in South Africa have a problem with homosexuality. It’s an extremely slippery slope if we try to say if something offends him or her and then that symbol has to be banned. If they really want to ban the flag they should come up with a better argument than that.”

Roets added a ban is a violation of freedom of speech.

“The problem that we have with this argument is that it’s a violation of speech and if we apply that argument consistently, we will create a precedent that will lead to all sorts of flags and symbols being banned.”

AfriForum is challenging the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s court application for an order declaring that displays of the apartheid flag constitute hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment based on race.

However, Johannesburg Pride says the old South African flag is a constant reminder of a regime with deep rooted human rights violations carried out against its citizens and is different from the rainbow flag, which it says is a symbol of love and inclusion.

"Johannesburg Pride as the largest LGBTIQ+ pride parade and festival on the African continent, would view any further comparison or call to ban the rainbow flag as a direct declaration of homophobia," a statement reads.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)