Display of old SA flag is 'nostalgia for apartheid', Ngcukaitobi tells court

The Supreme Court of Appeal has on Wednesday been hearing a bid from AfriForum to overturn an Equality Court ruling declaring displays of the flag to be hate speech.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi at the state capture inquiry. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Nelson Mandela Foundation says the display of the old South African flag represents a nostalgia for apartheid.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has been hearing a bid from AfriForum to overturn an Equality Court ruling declaring displays of the flag to be hate speech.

The ruling was made in 2019, on the back of a case brought by the foundation and by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after the flag was displayed at a protest against farm murders.

Both the foundation and the SAHRC are opposing AfriForum’s appeal.

AfriForum argues that context is key in that the old South African flag could symbolise apartheid, but those wishing to display it could also be "trading" on its dominant meaning.

But advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi for the Nelson Mandela Foundation said the only contemporary meaning to the old South African flag was “a yearning for the return of apartheid”.

He said it continued to represent white domination over black bodies.

But worse, he said, it also represents what has been declared by the United Nations as a crime against humanity, which makes the flag not just an affront to the dignity of Africans, but also to people of all races who support humanity.

Ngcukaitobi added that anyone who continues to display it today was endorsing a crime against humanity, an attack on black dignity and the superiority of whiteness.