LGBTI group takes anti-gay political party to Equality Court

PRM President Nhlanhla Buthelezi (Facebook)

PRM President Nhlanhla Buthelezi (Facebook)

The Gay and Lesbian Network in Pietermaritzburg is standing up to a homophobic KwaZulu-Natal-based political party.

The recently launched People’s Revolutionary Movement (PRM) has caused consternation with its stance against same-sex marriage, its belief that a “normal” society “consists of men and women”, and warnings of “Sodom and Gomorrah” if gay people are embraced.

Following anti-gay comments made by its president on radio, the Gay and Lesbian Network has now taken the party to the Equality Court.

The non-profit group’s Director, Anthony Waldhausen, filed a complaint with the court in Pietermaritzburg over statements allegedly made by PRM head Nhlanhla Buthelezi on the VibeFM community radio station in May.

Waldhausen claims that Buthelezi said that PRM does not accept gays and lesbians and that if a member of the party is found to be homosexual they would be fired from any position held on behalf of the party.

Buthelezi also allegedly said that PRM would collaborate with other political parties after the August municipal elections to work against the acceptance of lesbian and gay people. (PRM won one seat in KwaZulu-Natal in the elections.)

According to Waldhausen, these remarks are in contravention of the Independent Electoral Commissions’ Electoral Code of Conduct, which the party signed ahead of the elections.

He further claims that Buthelezi’s statements “seek to influence the function of other political parties to the exclusion of the LGBTI community”, infringe on LGBTI people’s right to dignity and their right to political participation and, ultimately, may “incite hatred against LGBTI people”.

Waldhausen told Mambaonline: “People should understand that the Constitution is the supreme law of the country. We have to take organisations and individuals to task about making statements that may contribute towards hate crimes.”

He added that, “When you have the leader of a political party making these statements it can lead to LGBTI people being targeted.”

The first hearing in the case was on 28 November, but was postponed when PRM’s lawyers questioned the jurisdiction of the Pietermaritzburg Equality Court and requested that the matter be moved to Durban as that is where the radio interview took place.

The Gay and Lesbian Network has argued, however, that VibeFM is streamed online and that Buthelezi’s homophobic comments have also been published in newspapers distributed outside of Durban, including the Isolezwe newspaper.

The court is expected to rule on the matter of jurisdiction on 23 January.

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