6 September 2016
By Taliesin Cormach - QL SA
South Africa's Department of Home Affairs is investigating avenues it can take in order to prevent homophobic US Pastor Steven Anderson from entering South Africa.
This is after the department received a petition with over 60 000 signatures calling for the pastor to be barred from the country, as well as a letter from the SA Human Rights Commission.
Anderson attracted controversy for his anti-gay statements, including his congratulations of the Orlando shooter who targeted a gay bar and killed 49 people.
"We have weighed carefully the options available regarding the visit of the United States' pastor that has attracted so much attention, and great worry, for good reason," Home Affair Minister Malusi Gigaba said in a statement on Monday.
The department is looking at the provisions of the Immigration Act regarding prohibited or undesirable persons.
"As a democratic state, we will not fold our arms in the face of intolerance, hate speech, and human-right violations of any kind. Therefore, we will not tolerate untoward behaviour, whether directed at the LGBTI community, or at any other national group on our soil," Gigaba said.
According to the SABC, the department is considering three options: to simply prohibit the pastor from entering the country, declaring him an undesirable person or letting him enter the country but with a strong warning.
The department said that it will not be afraid to charge foreigners who act against South Africa's laws.
"If it is his intention to visit South Africa again, it would be in his best interest to behave in accordance with our laws. We have a precedent regarding a US citizen on which we acted decisively, for the person to leave the country. There will be serious conditions attached to this visit; we will not hesitate to deport or charge him for wrongdoing," Gigaba said.