Jon Qwelane

The DA has again slammed the South African government for keeping homophobic ambassador Jon Qwelane at his post in Uganda as the country’s parliament prepares to vote on the gay death bill.

Stevens Mokgalapa, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said that it was a “national embarrassment” that “South Africa continues to be represented in that nation by a man whose deeply homophobic and prejudiced views are a matter of public record”.

Qwelane is facing Equality Court charges due to his July 20, 2008 newspaper article in which he equated homosexuality with bestiality, praised Robert Mugabe’s “unflinching and unapologetic stance over homosexuals” and encouraged the removal of the sexual-orientation protection clause from the constitution.

“It is shameful that Mr. Qwelane serves as our nation’s ambassador to this country, particularly at a time when South African representatives should be making it clear to our counterparts in Uganda that these disgraceful legislative proposals constitute an assault on fundamental human rights,” said Mokgalapa.

He added: “Instead of standing up against injustice, and promoting our constitutional values, the appointment of Jon Qwelane to Uganda has taken us backwards. We cannot in good conscience, as a nation all too familiar with the horrors of autocratic, oppressive laws, remain silent about the situation in Uganda; much less tacitly endorse it, as is presently the case.

“President Zuma should withdraw Jon Qwelane, and replace him with a representative who will be willing to engage vigorously to protect and promote human rights, and the values of our Constitution.”

While countries such as the UK and the US have condemned Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the South African government has stayed silent on the matter.

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