Nhlanhla Buthelezi (Facebook)
The Gay and Lesbian Network in Pietermaritzburg has been forced to drop its hate speech case against a homophobic KwaZulu-Natal political party.
In May last year, Nhlanhla Buthelezi, the head of the People’s Revolutionary Movement (PRM) was accused of making anti-LGBT statements on the VibeFM community radio station.
He allegedly revealed 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.
Buthelezi also allegedly said that PRM would collaborate with other political parties against the acceptance of lesbian and gay people.
He was requested by LGBTI organisations to apologise and retract his statements, which he refused. The Gay and Lesbian Network (GLN) then went on to take the party to the Equality Court over the comments.
The case, however, has now had to be dropped after the radio station confirmed that it has no recordings of the interview. According to VibeFM’s Programming department, the station only keeps recordings for three months after which they are deleted.
GLN’s attorneys advised the organisation that without the recording, “the chances of success in this matter are extremely slim” and recommended that the complaint be dropped.
“We are disappointed,” GLN’s Director Anthony Waldhausen told Mambaonline. “We went all out to take them on at the Equality Court.”
He explained that without “any evidence of [Buthelezi] speaking and making those comments it’s all hearsay”.
While PRM won just one seat in the local election last year in KwaZulu-Natal, Waldhausen believes that the homophobic statements made on a public platform needed to be called out.
“These comments can directly translate to the kinds of hate crimes we’ve been seeing in South Africa,” he said.
At its launch last year, PRM national spokesperson Nhlanhla Mhlongo stated: “As a movement we are 100 percent against same-sex marriages. The movement stands for a normal society that consists of men and women.”
He added: “We denounce those leaders who promote Sodom and Gomorrah…”
Despite the collapse of the case, Waldhausen said GLN remains committed to “keeping an eye on PRM and all political parties moving forward”.