Almost three years after writing his notorious article, homophobic journalist Jon Qwelane is to finally receive judgement from the Equality Court in a case lodged by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
In a statement, Vincent Moaga, spokesperson for the Equality Court, said that the South Gauteng High Court is expected to hand down judgement on Qwelane’s anti-gay comments on the 27th of May.
“The commission instituted the court proceedings in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act,” said Moaga.
The SAHRC has asked the court to order Qwelane to issue an unconditional apology and to pay symbolic compensation.
Qwelane did not appear at a recent court hearing on the case and the SAHRC applied for a default judgment be granted against him.
The SAHRC received around 350 complaints after the Sunday Sun published Qwelane’s July 20, 2008 article titled Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…
The article equated homosexuality with bestiality, praised Robert Mugabe’s oppression of gays and lesbians and encouraged the removal of the sexual-orientation protection clause from the constitution.
Following demonstrations by the LGBT community and numerous complaints, the Press Ombudsman ordered the Sunday Sun to apologise for the article but fell short of declaring the piece hate speech and refused to recommend any sanctions against Qwelane himself.
Qwelane was fired from the Sunday Sun after the fracas and was last year appointed high commissioner for South Africa in Uganda, a country which is considering legislation that could impose the death penalty against gays and lesbians.
His posting was seen as grossly inappropriate, insensitive and a “slap in the face” to the LGBT community by the government.
In January, the Democratic Alliance (DA) called on President Zuma to recall Qwelane from Uganda.