17 June 2016
South Africa's official opposition party, The Democratic Alliance, earlier this week denounced a violence-inciting hate speech comment on social media giant, Twitter, by a South African which targeted the gay community.
“To incite violence on a group of people – whose sexual orientation, race, gender or religion differs from your own – must be treated with the contempt that it deserves,” said Mabine Seabe, spokesman to the DA’s national leader Mmusi Maimane.
The party was responding to social media user Gerhard de Bruyn’s “SHOOT TO KILL” comment on an article shared by radio station 702, entitled “Understanding the world of ‘chemsex’ among gay men”.
The article is in connection to the massacre at a gay nightclub on Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida which left 50 people dead and a further 53 injured, making it the worst mass shooting in recent United States history.
While De Bruyn – a resident of Alberton, Gauteng – soon disappeared or was removed from Twitter, anger around his comment continued on both Twitter and Facebook.
One user, @CarynGootkin tweeted: “This ‘man’ believes gay people deserve to be shot. Let’s treat #GerhardDeBruyn as we did #PennySparrow”. Another, @DeidreDonnelly, asked: “Is #GerhardDeBruyn the #PennySparrow of hate speech against gay people in SA?.”
Penny Sparrow is of course the former KwaZulu-Natal real estate agent who referred to black South Africans as “monkeys” over the festive season.
That Facebook post caused such outrage that the ANC proverbially dragged her to the Umzinto Equality Court.
Seabe said he hoped De Bruyn would face similar reaction from the relevant authorities.
“It’s completely disgusting and backward for someone to hold such a view,” said Seabe.