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Activist wants social media platforms to enforce court ban on old SA flag

The Equality Court in on Wednesday ruled the gratuitous display of the apartheid-era flag constituted hate speech.

Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - An activist wants to ensure that social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, enforce a court order ban relating to South Africa's old flag.

The Equality Court in on Wednesday ruled the gratuitous display of the apartheid-era flag constituted hate speech.

The Stellenbosch Magistrates Court last month ruled against musician Steve Hofmeyr after it found the singer harassed activist Johan Pienaar over an art installation protesting the apartheid-era symbol.

Pienaar exhibited a protest installation during Stellenbosch’s Woordfees last year.

Themed “Laying Down the Flag,” it featured the old South African flag with the names of people Pienaar claimed were architects and enablers of apartheid.

Hofmeyr, via Twitter, offered a reward to anyone who could remove the flag.

The court ordered him to withdraw that statement, which he did.

Pienaar said he was satisfied that two courts have now “legitimised the central theme of” his flag installation.

“I am happy the courts have clarified what speech constitutes. That it’s not just words but symbols and actions.”

The Equality Court ruling was based on a complaint lodged by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

NATION-BUILDING

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it hoped the ruling would contribute towards nation-building.

The foundation’s Sello Hatang said he was hopeful that AfriForum and other parties which opposed their legal application could work towards a better South Africa.

“This is not banning the old flag, it’s ensuring that we build the nation we imagine and part of that reimagination is ensuring that we do not gratuitously display the flag.”

Hatang said the unprecedented ruling would only be a success when everyone works together and celebrated its diversity instead of fighting around its differences.

He said they were not satisfied.

“We’re hoping to join hands with AfriForum and other parties to say our woundedness should dare not wound the future. We should not be poisoning the future through the gratuitous display of the flag.”

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