NEWS
02/03/2018 13:02 SAST | Updated 02/03/2018 13:02 SAST

AfriForum: 'It Can Be Argued For ANC, SACP Flags To Be Banned'

"I personally know people whose children and whose family members have been murdered by members of the ANC."

Gallo Images
Ernst Roets during the #BlackMonday protests against farm murders the Voortrekker Monument, October 30, 2017.

AfriForum's deputy CEO Ernst Roets says while the organisation agrees that the old South African flag is seen by many as a symbol of oppression, a strong argument can also be made for the ANC and SACP flags to be construed as hate speech.

"I personally know people whose children and whose family members and brothers and sisters have been murdered by members of the ANC, who are declared by the ANC as heroes," Roets told HuffPost on Friday.

"If we really want to go down this path, the argument against the South African Communist Party is even stronger, If you want to look at what happened," he continued.

Roets also alleged that there are "many" South Africans "who were in concentration camps in Germany" who might be offended by the communist party's flag.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) has started its bid to have the act of displaying the old South African flag decreed "hate speech".

An application was submitted to the Equality Court on Wednesday, as the NMF response to the manner in which the flag was recently displayed at "Black Monday" anti-farm murder protests.

Roets believes banning the symbol would not be "beneficial" and does not "move us forward".

The minority rights group says it has not decided whether it will be opposing the matter.

"In principle we disagree with the notion, but we will have to discuss this matter with our executives."

The effect on freedom of speech

AfriForum says the matter is more about what constitutes "hate speech", rather than just the flag.

"The issue is not that we want to take a stand for the flag – that is not the issue for us. It is about freedom of speech," Roets claimed. "We are on record... actively [encouraging] people not to use the old South African flag. [But] I do not think it could solve anything by banning the symbol."

"The point here is not the flag. The point here is that the Nelson Mandela Foundation has a very skewed perception of freedom of speech, or at least what 'hate speech' is," he added.

"What we see here is selective persecution; there is a very selective perception of South Africa's history".

Although he said the majority of AfriForum's members do not display the flag, he insisted there would be a negative effect if it was banned.

"It would be very negative, not because people neccesarily have a loyalty to the flag – it would be a negative reaction because of the double standards and the selective persecution. I do not have a loyalty towards the flag," he said. "What we see here is selective persecution – there is a very selective perception of South Africa's history".