Minette Van Rensburg
Minette Van Rensburg, a member of the LGBT community, has won her Equality Court case against a George woman who said that the Pink Loerie Festival was a curse on the region.
In an April 21 Facebook post, Desiree du Preez lashed out against the annual LGBT event in neighbouring Knysna, which this year featured a mass same-sex wedding.
“People of Eden, why do we allow a curse on our region due to the Pink Loerie Festival and mass gay marriage?” she asked.
Du Preez made the comments in Afrikaans in the Georgiete Staan Saam community group, which has over 18,000 members.
“It is only because Christians do nothing. Let us stand up and tell the gays they are no longer welcome. They have to find another home. Who agrees with me?” she wrote.
Van Rensburg, another George resident, lodged a complaint with the Equality Court, which led to a court appearance by both women last Friday.
At the hearing, Du Preez agreed to offer an unconditional apology to the gay community in the local newspaper, as well as on Facebook. She also agreed to undergo sensitivity training facilitated by the Gender Equality Commission.
“Her defence was that she did not mean it as I interpreted it. And that it was not aimed at a specific person,” explained Van Rensburg. “Still she feels that according to her conviction of faith she did no wrong. But she acknowledged that according to the Constitution she was wrong.”
Van Rensburg said she was very satisfied with the outcome of the case. “I realise that this will always be an issue with some religions, and I respect that. But all of us must abide by the Constitution.
“And I mainly wanted to get people to realise they cannot say what they want, especially in public and on social media,” explained Van Rensburg.
Mambaonline asked if she would urge others to take instances of LGBT discrimination to the Equality Court.
“Yes,” she replied. “I would definitely recommend it, because if we’re not willing to stand up for our rights, how can we expect others to respect them?”
If you have been the victim of hate speech or discrimination you can lodge a case with an Equality Court in your area. It is free and you do not need a lawyer.
Visit the nearest Magistrates’ Court and ask for the Equality Court. A clerk will give you a Form 2 to complete and to lodge a complaint. For more information, including a list of Equality Courts, visit www.justice.gov.za/EQCact/eqc_main.html.
You can also file a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission on their website at www.sahrc.org.za.