Lamola welcomes ConCourt's judgment against late journalist Jon Qwelane

On Friday the Constitutional Court found that Jon Qwelane's sentiments constitute hate speech.

FILE: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola addresses the media in Pretoria during a virtual Cabinet briefing on 6 August 2020. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has welcomed the Constitutional Court's judgment against late journalist Jon Qwelane.

Qwelane, who died last December, penned an opinion piece in 2008 titled "Call me names, but gay is not okay" which contained discriminatory remarks about homosexuals, sparking outrage, while hundreds of people laid complaints.

Qwelane compared members of the community to animals and held them responsible for the degeneration of values in society.

On Friday the Constitutional Court found that Qwelane's sentiments constitute hate speech.

The ruling by the apex court has been described as a resounding victory for the country's LGBTI+ community which is constantly under attack.

The justices however found Section 10(1) of the Equality Act to be unconstitutional to the extent of the inclusion of the term “hurtful”.

Parliament has been given 24 months to remedy the constitutional defect.

Lamola said the ruling has clarified what can be considered hate speech.

He added that it paved the way for the pending draft legislation - Hate Crimes Bill, as well as the Hate Speech Bill.

"Judgments such as these provide legal certainty and develop our constitutional jurisprudence on issues such as freedom of expression and issues of equality. This can only serve to deepen constitutionalism in our society," said Lamola’s spokesperson Chrispin Phiri.

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