Sign torn down as SAHRC moves against LGBTQ-ban store


CCTV footage shows three individuals destroying the sign outside the La Gardi store

In an act of defiance, vandals (or heroes, as some may see them) have torn down a despicable chalkboard sign barring LGBTQ+ people from entering a shop in Gqeberha.

The sign, reading “LGBTQ not welcome at La Gardi – Save our Children,” was recently put up by the shop’s homophobic owner, Dawood Lagardien.

CCTV footage from the early hours of Wednesday morning captures three individuals wearing hoodies, with one wielding what appears to be a machete, as they smash and pull down the sign.

In an act of further protest, they hack and stamp on the sign in the parking area before disappearing into the darkness.

News24 reported that the defiant Lagardien intends to replace the torn-down sign and has already lodged a case of vandalism against the three individuals with the police.

However, Lagardien’s discriminatory actions are not going unanswered. The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has now taken legal action against him.

The SAHRC’s legal action not only addresses the offensive sign but also targets a shocking hate speech WhatsApp group created to support Lagardien and his homophobia.

The WhatsApp group, named “Our rights – anti-LGBTQ+,” attracted over 600 members, who published anti-LGBTQ slurs and other hate speech. Some individuals even posted statements inciting violence against LGBTQ+ people.

Dr Eileen Carter, the Eastern Cape Provincial Head of the SAHRC, confirmed to MambaOnline: “Our office has proceeded with steps of instituting a matter against the respondent in the High Court, sitting as an Equality Court, in Gqeberha.

“It is our position that the actions of Mr. Lagardien constitute unfair discrimination as per section 6 of the Equality Act, hate speech as per section 10 of the Act, as well as harassment based on section 11 of the Act.”

Carter further explained that their cause of action “includes not only the display of the signage outside of his business but also his creation, participation and administration of the WhatsApp group.” She emphasised that the group propagates and incites hate speech and harassment towards the LGBTIQ community.

The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Equality Act) expressly prohibits unfair discrimination in providing goods, services, and facilities based on various grounds, including gender and sexual orientation.

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