After years of blatantly flouting an agreement to stop degrading and condemning LGBT people, Pastor Oscar Bougardt is finally being charged with contempt of court.
Mambaonline has learned that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) last week filed a contempt of court application against Bougardt in the Western Cape High Court, sitting as the Equality Court.
The application has also been delivered to the sheriff of the court in order to be served to the homophobic Cape Town cleric.
Since at least 2011, Bougardt has conducted a vile campaign against the LGBT community, accusing gay people of being child molesters, of being sinful perverts and even appearing to call for their execution.
He has justified his hateful comments on the basis of his right to freedom of religion, stating that he is “Biblically mandated to preach against the homosexual lifestyle”.
In October 2014, as a result of hate speech charges laid by the SAHRC against him, he signed a court approved settlement.
In the agreement, Bougardt was “interdicted from publishing statements that are discriminatory or incite hatred or harm on the grounds of sexual orientation”.
He also said in the settlement that he was “truly sorry” for making his anti-gay statements and acknowledged that his comments were “likely to encourage hatred and cause emotional, psychological and physical harm” to members of the gay and lesbian community.
Bougardt further asked “those who he has offended to forgive him” and undertook “not to make such statements in the future.”
The pastor, however, almost immediately went right back to his old ways, and continued to make appalling anti-LGBT statements on social media and in the press.
Commenting on a 2015 Mambaonline report about the execution of nine men and a boy for homosexuality by Isis radicals, Bougardt wrote: “We need Isis to come to countries who are homosexual friendly. Isis. Please come rid South Africa of homosexual curse.” (He subsequently claimed his comment was misinterpreted and that he does not approve of violence).
Bougardt then soon after dared the authorities to take action against him, telling Mambaonline. “I don’t care if you lock me up”.
He went on to align himself with American hate evangelist Steven Anderson, visiting him in the US, and promising to open branches of the banned preacher’s church in South Africa.
In December 2016, he told News24 “that 99% of the paedophiles have a homosexual background”. He then threatened to sue the site and other publications, including Mambaonline, for reporting this.
Hendrik Baird, Station Manager at Gay SA Radio, one of those who filed complaints against Bougardt with the SAHRC, said it was about time action was taken against the preacher.
“I am glad that the SAHRC has decided to bare its teeth and make a case of contempt of court against him,” Baird told Mambaonline. “He has brought this on himself and an example needs to be made to show the country that homophobia is not okay.”
When we contacted Bougardt about the contempt of court application, he replied that he was not aware of it. “This is the first time I hear of this application and the Human Right’s Commission are in their rights to apply,” he said. “It is just sad that I have to find out about these application via the media.” Bougardt declined to comment further.