The sign outside La Gardi is a gross violation of the Equality Act (Photo: Jayda Van Heerden / Facebook)
In a blatant violation of the Equality Act, the owner of a shop in Gqeberha has declared that he will not serve or allow LGBTQ people onto the premises.
MambaOnline was recently made aware of photos posted on social media showcasing the exterior of La Gardi, a packaging, spice, dairy, and baking shop.
The photos display a chalkboard sign near the entrance that states: “LGBTQ not welcome at La Gardi – Save our Children.”
Defying the Equality Act: Growing anti-LGBTQ vitriol in South Africa
This shocking attempt at “queer apartheid” exemplifies the increasingly vocal and irrational anti-LGBTQ sentiment that conservative religious and political groups are fostering in South Africa.
Under the powerful narrative of “protecting” children and families, these groups are actively creating division and fueling hatred through misinformation and fear-mongering.
We contacted the owner of La Gardi, Dawood Lagardien, who confirmed over the phone that he had put up the sign. We asked him about his reasons for doing so.
Lagardien stated that while gays and lesbians have always existed, they had in the past “stayed in their lane, and we stayed in ours – we never judged them.” However, he asserted that LGBTQ people are now being “forced down our throat.”
He expressed outrage at the alleged exposure of sexually explicit LGBTQ material to young children in schools. When we asked for specific examples, Lagardien claimed that children are being instructed by schools to ask their fathers about ejaculation.
He also railed against Woolworths for featuring an image of two men kissing in their recent controversial Pride Month campaign. When we questioned the difference between that and a man and a woman kissing, he responded, “Because that’s normal.” He added, “Just stay in your lane, and we’ll stay in ours.”
“I will not allow LGBTQ individuals in my shop, and no one can stop me!”
We inquired if the shop owner was aware of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Equality Act), which prohibits discrimination in the provision of services in South Africa. Lagardien replied that he wasn’t concerned about the law.
“I don’t care if you want to sue me or report me,” he said. “I am allowed to put up a sign saying I don’t want LGBTQ people. I will not allow LGBTQ individuals in my shop, and no one can stop me!”
The Equality Act outlaws unfair discrimination in the provision of goods, services, and facilities based on several grounds, including gender and sexual orientation. Those who contravene the law can be taken to the Equality Court, which has the authority to order violators to pay damages, issue an apology, and cease engaging in unfair discrimination.
“The action by La Gardi is simply put, unlawful,” Pretoria attorney Coenie Kukkuk told Mamba. He noted that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) had determined in many cases that services to LGBTQ+ people cannot be denied on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“However, the SAHRC and the Courts cannot act if the LGBTQ+ community does not jealously guard these hard-earned rights – and must nip these types of discriminatory practices in the bud, by laying charges at the SAHRC against offenders,” he said.
Anyone who feels that La Gardi’s sign is discriminatory can lodge an online complaint with the SAHRC.