The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) may have failed to submit legal papers, opposing Jon Qwelane’s bid to have his hate speech court ruling overturned, in time.
According to Eye Witness News, Qwelane’s lawyers have refused a request by the SAHRC to extend yesterday’s deadline by which they had to submit their affidavits.
“The South African Human Rights Commission has contacted us and asked for an extension till next week Wednesday to file their opposing affidavit,” said Andrew Boerner of Jurgens Bekker Attorneys.
“The time period in terms of the court rules was for today [Thursday] … and we denied their request,” he said.
It’s not clear if the SAHRC was able to submit the paperwork by the end of the day or what the implications are if they did not. Mambaonline was not successful in contacting a spokesperson from the organisation before going to print.
Qwelane, a journalist who is now South Africa’s ambassador in Uganda, was sued by the SAHRC over his 2008 anti-gay article Call me names, but gay is NOT okay…, published in the Sunday Sun.
He failed to defend himself and in May was found guilty, ordered to apologise and fined R 100,000.
His lawyers are now attempting to rescind the ruling on the basis that Qwelane was out of the country at the time and thought that the case wouldn’t proceed without him.
If they succeed, the ruling will effectively be nullified and the SAHRC would have to decide whether to re-file the suit against Qwelane and start the case from the beginning.