Motsoko Pheko, the president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has made a qualified apology for recent homophobic remarks.

Pheko made the remarks to the SABC in an interview last week, saying that his party was not interested in attracting votes from gays and lesbians as they could not bear children and thus faced extinction.

He was quoted as saying that, “Some people have said that we are going to lose votes of the homosexuals – fine yes indeed I think that they cannot be a population anyway and think that a population of homosexuals will disappear in no time – they can’t bear – you can’t have a man and a man having children. You can’t have a woman and a woman having children – a man needs a woman to have children.”

Leon Wessels from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has described the remarks as homophobic, while Cape Town’s Gay and Lesbian Triangle Project is considering laying a formal charge against Pheko with the HRC.

In a statement, Pheko said that, “The recent remarks attributed to me regarding gay citizens were stated in the context of the fact that South Africa’s constitution in practice does not protect the landless, jobless, poor and the majority Africans who are economically excluded.

“If the manner in which I expressed my comments worked against nation building and caused offence, I apologise unconditionally. I would welcome the opportunity to engage with members of all progressive forces to discuss nation building strategies,” he added.

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