Gay hate pastor: Home Affairs ignores Human Rights Commission letter deadline

Minister Malusi Gigaba

Minister Malusi Gigaba

The Minister of Home Affairs has failed to respond to queries from the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about blocking gay hate pastor Steven Anderson’s visit to South Africa.

Earlier this week, SAHRC Chairman Lawrence Mushwana wrote a letter to Minister Malusi Gigaba asking that Home Affairs provide him with a “detailed report” on whether it had decided to stop Anderson, the reason for the decision and what steps it intends to take.

Mushwana requested that Gigaba reply by 28 July “in light of the urgency of the matter”. Mambaonline has learned that the minister has not met this deadline.

SAHRC Spokesperson Gail Smith told us: “As it stands, we haven’t received a response.” She admitted that the SAHRC was “disappointed” but pointed out that the commission could not compel Gigaba to reply.

Smith insisted that there was not much else the commission could do “as we ultimately don’t have any authority if [Anderson] comes into the country or not. That power resides with the minister.”

She explained that it could also not take any direct action against Anderson “as he has not done or said anything in South Africa”.

Home Affairs Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete told Mambaonline: “The minister doesn’t have to respond to the SA Human Rights Commission letter.”

Tshwete said the department would, however, still work with the commission to ensure that if Anderson made any hate speech comments while in South Africa “we would deport him automatically on the spot”.

He reaffirmed the minister’s commitment to meet with Hendrik Baird from GaySA Radio, who launched the campaign against Anderson’s visit, and the SAHRC “after the elections” to see “what is legally possible”.

While the SAHRC and others argue that various sections of the Immigration Act allow the minister to declare an individual a “prohibited person,” Tshwete insisted that the matter was not so cut and dry.

“If the guy hasn’t been convicted of anything it is harder to declare him undesirable,” he said, claiming that the legislation makes doing this “very difficult”.

Tshwete explained that the department was wary of taking any pre-emptive action against the pastor if it would result in it being litigated against.

“So we’re just saying, let’s sit down with lawyers, the Human Rights Commission and see what’s the best way forward.” An earlier meeting planned for 18 July was cancelled as the minister was not feeling well.

Tshwete confirmed that a date for the new meeting as not yet been set. “Remember this guy is only coming in September so we don’t have to stumble over each other. We can do this thing properly and carefully,” said Tshwete.

Anderson, who heads up Tempe’s Faithful Word Baptist Church, is set to visit Johannesburg in a missionary style evangelical excursion on 18 September to “win souls” for his hateful cause.

Anderson preaches that gay people should be executed and praised the Orlando massacre as “good news” because “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”.

More than 53,000 people have now signed two petitions calling for Home Affairs to block his visit. You can sign them here and here.

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