28 July 2016
By Taliesin Cormach - QL SA
The South African Human Right Commission (SAHRC) wants to know exactly why South Africa's Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba can’t turn away a gay hating American pastor who is headed to South Africa in September.
The SAHRC’s chairperson‚ advocate Lourence Mushwana‚ said he had sent a letter to Gigaba following a “number of complaints received by the commission regarding the proposed entry of Pastor Anderson into South Africa‚ which complaints are directed against both the minister and pastor”.
News of Anderson coming to the country on a “soul-winning mission” year broke earlier this month‚ prompting a social media outcry and an online petition to Gigaba to stop him from coming to the country due to his hate speech against gay people.
Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said at the time the minister is not in a position to turn away the American pastor.
"The minister empathises with the LGBT community but firstly Americans do not need visas to come to South Africa or any form of permission from the department. We feel that the comments made by the pastor were uncalled for but the law doesn’t allow us to turn away anyone from entering the country based on what they have said‚" Tshwete said.
Mushwana said the complaints received by the SAHRC “detail instances where Pastor Anderson is reported to have in the past expressed hateful‚ harmful and/or hurtful statements toward members of the LGBTI community as well as members of the Jewish and Muslim communities”.
Mushwana said he had requested information regarding the decision to allow ingress‚ including the “reasons for the decision of the department and the legal framework‚ policies and/or protocols relied on…in arriving at its decision”‚ and “the status of the matter…as well as its anticipated next steps‚ and timeframes for the implementation of these actions”.
The SAHRC has asked for a reply by Thursday 28 July but instead of providing the answers Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said:
"We called the SAHRC to the table to see how best we could resolve this situation and not the other way around. We sympathise with the LGBT community and do not agree with the pastor's stance on Muslim and Jewish communities. Our legal teams are working to see how best we can deal with this situation."
Meanwhile, local business such as OR Tambo Premier Hotel, Spur and Wimpy have declined to offer their services to Anderson and his congregation after pressure from the public against his visit.