SAHRC confirms investigation into “no gays on date night” restaurant


EWN reporters were refused entry

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has officially instituted an investigation into the Ekurhuleni restaurant that bars same-sex couples from attending its date night events.

According to Gushwell Brooks, SAHRC Communications Coordinator, the commission has to date not actually received any formal complaints about the Lake Restaurant’s discriminatory policy.

“However,” he told Mambaonline, “due to the media expose and the discourse the issue raised, the Commission launched an own initiative investigation as a result.”

He noted that, “preventing someone entry to a venue due to a group they belong to, as set out in Section 9 of the Constitution and the Equality Act (Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act), is unconstitutional and cannot be justified”.

Mambaonline first reported on the restaurant’s gay ban in November when a woman, Mia Agrela, tried to attend its romantic evening with her female partner and was turned away.

Last month, the venue again made headlines after refusing entry to undercover EWN reporters Victor Magwedze and Clement Manyathela, who posed as a same-sex couple.

On Friday, Agrela confirmed to Mambaonline that the SAHRC has been in touch with her over the matter. She is also proceeding with her own court case against the restaurant.

“I just got the documentation this week from the lawyers, which I need to go get signed by the police. We’re sending all the documentation next week into court,” she said.

Lake Restaurant co-owner Sammi-Jo Amiras has remained defiant and has insisted that while gay people are welcome to come any other time, she is entitled to have a stand-alone night that’s exclusive to opposite sex couples.

The Restaurant Association of South Africa earlier told EWN that while a restaurant has the right to refuse admission, it cannot do so “on any grounds on sex, gender, race, preferences or equalities that the Constitution refers to in South Africa”.

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