The parties in the case to rescind Jon Qwelane’s hate speech ruling have agreed to postpone the matter to allow his lawyers more time to prepare.
According to Vincent Moaga, spokesperson for the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), “the parties agreed to the request in light of our opposing papers”.
The SAHRC filed papers opposing Qwelane’s application with the court last week.
“Mr. Qwelane’s lawyers requested more time so that they can prepare thoroughly,” Moaga told Mambaonline.com.
He also explained that the Chief Magistrate further instructed the magistrate handling the matter to refer it to the normal court instead of the equality court.
Moaga, noted, however, that “pending internal discussions and complexities that have to be addressed by the court related to the handling of the case it may be referred back to the Equality Court”.
Moaga added that the SAHRC wants to “inform the public that it remains committed to ensuring that the initial court judgment is upheld”.
He confirmed that a new date has not yet been set and that both parties await the court to notify them of a date when the matter will be heard.
Qwelane’s attorney, Andrew Boerner, told The Citizen newspaper that he expected this to be between August 22 to 26.
Qwelane, his wife and their son were present at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court today.
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 acknowledge the case or defend himself and, in May, was found guilty of hate speech, ordered to apologise and fined R 100,000.
Qwelane’s lawyers believe that the ruling should be rescinded on the basis that he assumed the case wouldn’t proceed without him because he was out of the country and didn’t have an opportunity to defend himself.