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Nelson Mandela Foundation to approach courts over Ernst Roets' old SA flag tweet

The Equality Court this week declared certain displays of the apartheid flag as hate speech. However, following the ruling, Roets posted the flag on Twitter, with the caption 'Did I just commit hate speech?'

FILE: AfriForum's Ernst Roets outside the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 21 August 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Nelson Mandela Foundation has announced it will approach the courts on an urgent basis to declare AfriForum's Ernst Roets in contempt of court.

The Equality Court this week declared certain displays of the apartheid flag as hate speech. However, following the ruling, Roets posted the flag on Twitter, with the caption "Did I just commit hate speech?"

The foundation viewed this as disrespecting the judicial system and said it reached out to AfriForum several times to work together but their efforts had been rejected.

The foundation's spokesperson Luzuko Koti: "The court has ruled on this particular issue that the gratuitous display of the flag is equal to hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination. So when he does that gratuitously, the way he has suggests that he has no respect or care."

Roets has defended the tweet, saying that he was not disrespecting the judgment, insisting that the court said the flag could be used for artistic, journalistic and academic purposes.

"I am a scholar of law, I am doing my doctorate currently on minority rights, this is a minority rights issue and I asked an academic question. If we say we have freedom of speech, that is exactly what it is, it means defensive speech and controversial speech is also protected.

"I am just saying the fact that a court says something doesn't by definition mean that is the right thing."