The DA’s Zakhele Mbhele drafted the motion
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has objected to a parliamentary motion in support of the Mr Gay World contest, which was held in South Africa last week.
The congratulatory ‘motion without notice’ was proposed by the DA’s Zakhele Mbhele, who became Africa’s first openly-gay black male MP in May last year.
The motion acknowledges the importance of the event as “a platform for identifying role models and brand ambassadors to champion equal rights for lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and intersex people.”
It further “condemns ongoing prejudice, homophobia and transphobia” against LGBTI people in South Africa and around the world, noting that Mr Gay India was forced to withdraw from the contest due to threats against him and his family.
The motion also congratulates the two African contestants, Craig Maggs and Siyathokoza Thabani Khumalo, who placed in the top ten, as well as the organisers for hosting a successful event.
Finally, the motion “affirms that Mr Gay World should return to South Africa again in future, as a symbol of defiance against efforts to make LGBTI people and their issues invisible in Africa.”
In a post on Facebook on Tuesday, the ACDP said it would object to the motion because it is “contentious and party specific.”
On Wednesday morning Mbhele read out the motion in the National Assembly. As expected, the ACDP objected, resulting in the motion not being voted on and not being recorded by Parliament.
“It is unacceptable and regrettable but not surprising coming from the ACDP,” Mbhele told Mambaonline. “I would say that the ACDP doesn’t understand the issue of universal human rights and that we have to condemn intolerance no matter from where it comes or whom it is against.”
Siyathokoza Thabani Khumalo (Zambia) and Craig Maggs (SA) were the only African contestants
Mbhele accused the party of hypocrisy, highlighting the fact that it had supported motions in Parliament condemning discrimination against Christians in the Middle East. “They don’t see that the oppression of Christian minorities in the Middle East is the same as the plight faced by LGBTI people,” he said.
Coenie Kukkuk, Director for Africa for Mr Gay World described the ACDP’s move as “a shameful act”.
“How they get to the conclusion that LGBT people support only the DA is inconceivable. It is a frivolous reason and done only to scupper the motion,” he told Mambaonline.
After a number of comments criticising the ACDP’s stance, the party removed the post about the motion from its Facebook page on Wednesday.
The ACDP previously objected to and blocked a similar motion in 2011 which aimed to congratulate South Africa’s Francois Nel for winning Mr Gay World in the Philippines.
In 2012, it slammed the organisers of Mr Gay World for “provoking Christians” by holding the event’s concluding ceremony in Johannesburg on Easter Sunday.
The ACDP also voted against the passage of the Civil Union Bill that legalised same-sex marriage in 2006.
Klaus Burkart, 21, from Germany was chosen as Mr Gay World 2015 at a ceremony in Kynsna on Saturday night. The 21 international contestants visited and toured Parliament the week before.