Dep. Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba
A representative of the Department of Home Affairs has arrogantly dismissed concerns about the controversial proposed anti-porn bill, which was submitted to it by an organisation called the Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA).
Thami Msomi, Head of the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs’ office, refused to consider the concerns expressed in a letter from SA GLAAD’s Cobus Fourie to the department.
In the letter, Fourie implores the Deputy Minister, Malusi Gigaba, to take “the constitution’s spirit of freedom into consideration and leave parental control to those it was designed for: Parents.”
He also compares the proposed bill to apartheid-era attempts to restrict freedom of speech and expresses his concern that the department is giving too much credence to JASA ,which he describes as “a small fringe group of religious fundamentalists with clear ulterior motives”.
On its website, JASA says that it is “a coalition of corporations, individuals and churches committed to upholding and fighting for justice and the highest moral standards in South African society”.
“If the Justice Alliance gets its way, South Africa will be lumped in with countries like China, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and the Gaza Strip; quite an unenviable achievement – and quite a step backwards in terms of democracy,” says Fourie.
The response from Msomi was brief and dismissive.
He writes, “Whilst we appreciate and respect your views, it is quite obvious that we share different and conflicting value systems and opinions on this and other matters”.
Msomi adds further: “Perhaps we should just acknowledge our different viewpoints in this regard and leave matters at that.”
Fourie said that he was shocked by the haughty response.
“The lack of a spirit of cooperation and the blatant authoritarian stance displayed is completely unacceptable,” he told Mambaonline.
“I would hope the minister would take heed of the spirit of the constitution and embrace citizen involvement rather than clamming up and not seeing the wood for the trees. Right wing groups like the JASA do not own Government nor should they usurp public opinion,” he said.
Last week Gigaba announced that he was working with JASA on the bill which would ban all adult material on the internet and cell-phones in South Africa.