Tue, 04 Aug 2020

The EFF has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Die Stem from South Africa's national anthem following Wednesday's Equality Court ruling that the gratuitous display of the apartheid flag constitutes hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment.

In his judgment, Judge Phineas Mojapelo said the display of the old flag unjustifiably demeans and dehumanises on the basis of race.

He added that it impairs dignity.

In a statement, EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said his party had long called for the flag and other apartheid symbols to be removed.

He said the party welcomed the ruling, labelling it a milestone and a victory in favour of all those who had been calling for the symbols of apartheid to fall.

"It must be common cause that the apartheid national anthem must follow after its flag. The apartheid flag and its anthem belong to the same species. They are the two sides of one coin.

"Forcing black people to sing Die Stem is like asking them each day to salute the apartheid flag," Ndlozi said.

The party said apartheid statues, street names and symbols that continued to celebrate and honour apartheid leaders should also be declared hate speech and must be "obliterated from the face of a democratic and inclusive South Africa".

Ruling welcomed

The ANC expressed similar sentiments, saying the judgment was a vindication of the party's position that the old flag and other apartheid paraphernalia were divisive and represented a hankering for the country's hurtful past.

The party added that it believed that demonstrating any allegiance to apartheid symbols served to undermine all efforts aimed at building a new democratic society that was based on the values of justice, equality and freedom.

"Displaying the apartheid flag is not only inconsistent with the values of our Constitution, but also tends to reverse all the gains we have made since 1994 to promote social cohesion and build a non-racial society.

"The ANC calls on all South Africans to redouble their collective efforts towards building a united nation and to turn their backs on apartheid and all its symbols," national spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

The DA said, while it supported the ruling that the flag may still be used for artwork, academic research and journalistic purposes, it was against an outright ban of the flag.

"The democratic flag must act as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, which the DA is committed to as articulated by our mission of Building One South Africa for All, underpinned by the values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity," said DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi.

'Display of that flag brought back pain'

The party said the apartheid flag formed part of the country's painful history and should be used to educate and inform. It said a total ban of the flag would deprive future generations of the full account of the country's history.

Many of South African citizens outside the court in Johannesburg on Wednesday welcomed the ruling, saying the flag was insulting and reminded them of their hurtful past.

"As a country we came from the hardship of apartheid, so the display of that flag brought back pain to many South Africans," said Thabo Mamabolo.

Angelique Handerson said, while the apartheid flag may be of sentimental value to some, there was a need for the flag to be displayed in a sensitised way that did not offend other people.

Others took to Twitter to express their views.

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