The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has responded to a petition calling on it to initiate legal proceedings to jail anti-LGBTQ Cape Town pastor Oscar Bougardt.
MambaOnline recently sent the SAHRC almost 5,000 signatures supporting the online petition demanding contempt of court action against the defiant preacher for continuing to contravene a hate speech court ruling against him almost a year ago.
Adv Lloyd Lotz, SAHRC Western Cape Provincial Manager, responded that there was progress in the case. He said his office had “submitted a memo to head office requesting approval for instituting contempt of court proceedings [against Bougardt] in the High Court.”
He added that while the Commission “deems the complaint in a serious light [it] however needs to follow due process in order to ensure a legal basis upon which to proceed to court, hence the awaited approval from the Commission’s head office.” Lotz was unable to tell MambaOnline when a final decision would be made in the matter.
He also offered clarity on an expected apology to the LGBTQ community and a commitment by Bougardt to refrain from associating with US hate pastor Steven Anderson included in the ruling. Lotz said these were ultimately not part of the final court order issued by the judge. Bougardt thus is apparently not legally bound by these commitments.
LGBTQ attorney Coenraad Kukkuk expressed frustration at the “endless correspondences which seem to be going nowhere, with all due respect.” He believes that Bougardt “has on numerous occasions been in contempt of court and should be held in contempt. That is all. No more deflecting of the issues here.”
In May 2018, Bougardt was given a 30-day jail sentence, suspended for five years, after he was found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of contravening an initial 2014 court order to end his anti-LGBTQ hate speech. This followed years of abuse on social media and in the press against LGBTQ people, including calling for their execution and imprisonment in South Africa.
Since then he has repeatedly violated the ruling with impunity and has continued to make anti-LGBTQ comments on his Facebook page almost on a daily basis. In October last year, he was quoted by The Daily Voice describing LGBTQ people as “f*gs”.
To date, Bougardt has not faced any legal consequences for his homophobic rants such as calling LGBTQ people “sinful”, “evil” and “an abomination”. His Facebook profiles were recently temporarily suspended, which he complained was due to things he wrote in 2017 against “homos” and “queers.”