AfriForum to oppose 'contempt of court' application, appeal flag ruling

Ernst Roets says it is a tragic irony that this process is being spearheaded by NMF

AfriForum to oppose NMF 'contempt of court' application, appeal flag ruling

27 August 2019

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets intends to oppose the Nelson Mandela Foundation's (NMF) application to have him held in contempt of court, he said on Tuesday.

This, after Roets took to Twitter last Wednesday to post a picture of the old flag, asking: "Did I just commit hate speech?"

He did this just hours after Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, Phineas Mojapelo, ruled that the "gratuitous" display of the flag amounted to hate speech.

Roets told News24 that the lobby group would also appeal the ruling.

"We're opposing based on free speech. Also, what I said on Twitter was within the ambit of the judgment. It was not gratuitous display," he said.

He maintained that his tweet was "was merely a question" that he posed and added that threats to imprison someone based on a tweet was indicative of the fact that civil liberties were being eroded in South Africa.

"The tragic irony is that this process of banning and censorship is spearheaded by the Nelson Mandela Foundation," he said.

NMF spokesperson Luzuko Koti told News24 that the foundation had filed court papers and requested that the matter be heard on September 3.

He said the foundation was still waiting for a response from the court.

Explaining why he posted the flag, Roets said he was posing an "academic question", adding that it seemed the Nelson Mandela Foundation's quest for "apartheid style censorship and banning continues".

In a media statement last Friday, the foundation said the Equality Act, however, did not protect academic displays of the flag that were made in bad faith.

It said it was of the view that Roets' action was in "bad faith" and in "contempt of court".