Pastor Oscar Bougardt

The South African Human Rights Commission has confirmed that it will investigate a notoriously anti-gay Western Cape pastor over his alleged hate speech.

The Rev. Oscar Peter Bougardt, a Christian minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and senior pastor at Calvary H.O.P.E Ministries in Mitchells Plain, first launched his media crusade against homosexuality in October last year by stating that Archbishop Desmond Tutu will burn in hell for supporting the LGBT community.

Since then he’s sent a string of provocative e-mails to gay groups and media, including Mambaonline. He’s also regularly made hateful comments on articles on this site.

Bougardt has, for example, stated that he supports Iran for “not allowing homosexuals to curse their country and for executing gays and lesbians” and that “countries should execute those who is found guilty of being homosexuals”.

In an e-mail in September, he wrote that gay people are “to blame for all sex attacks on children, because people who kill and molest children have a homosexual background”.

Bougardt went on to say that “the government should round [homosexuals] up and drop them off in the desert or an isolated island while they at it drop an atomic bomb on them and rid us of the curse of gays and lesbians”.

Now, forensic investigator and blogger Pierre Le Roux has had enough. He recently lodged a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission over the pastor’s diatribes.

On Friday, the commission sent Le Roux a letter confirming that the complaint falls within its mandate “and will be investigated”.

Le Roux told Mambaonline that he laid the complaint because Bogart’s statements have deeply upset him.

“I find his comments hurtful and dangerous. In light of all the hate crimes against LGBTI people of late his comments could contribute to such crimes as he is inciting violence against our community,” he said, adding “There will always be people who take his comments literally and being a leader in his community he should act responsibly in what he says and peaches.”

Le Roux also claims that in e-mail and Facebook correspondence the pastor “threatened me once saying that I should come down to the Cape Flats so that they can show me what they do with ‘moffies’.”

When asked if Bougardt did not have the right to say what he does under his right to freedom of speech, Le Roux replied that “even freedom of speech has a line that should not be crossed”.

“If you threaten the constitutional rights of your fellow South African and advocate that homosexuals should be executed I pretty much believe that you do not deserve to hide behind freedom of speech. That’s how the genocide in Rwanda was allowed to happen,” he said.

When Mambaonline contacted Bougardt, the pastor commented that he doesn’t believe that his statements on homosexuality constitute hate speech.

“As an ordained minister of the Gospel I am mandated to preach the true Gospel and the Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination to God,” he said. “My statements is not directed at a person but at all homosexuals who claim they were created homosexual. I believe homosexuals are gay/lesbian by choice and not birth and they should stop blaming God for the perverted choices they make.”

Bougardt went on to ask Mambaonline to not publish his contact details because “with your last article I received death threats and was verbally abused by homosexuals”.

The South African Human Rights Commission previously investigated and pursued charges of hate speech against homophobic journalist Jon Qwelane. Qwelane managed to overturn his May 2011 hate speech conviction on a technicality and the case is set to next be heard in the high court.

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