Old flag: Biased ruling will undermine reconciliation and nation building

Opinion by FF Plus

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Old flag: Biased ruling will undermine reconciliation and nation building
Old flag: Biased ruling will undermine reconciliation and nation building

The ruling by the High Court on 21 August 2019, that displaying the old South African flag amounts to hate speech does not only undermine the right to freedom of expression, but it is also a biased decision that undermines reconciliation and nation building in South Africa.

Judge Phineas Mojapelo of the Equality Court found that displaying the old flag constitutes hate speech. The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) were the petitioners in the case.

The new dispensation in South Africa was founded on nation building and reconciliation. To tear that down is dangerous and serves no purpose. The old national flag is part of our country’s history, just like the ANC flag under which numerous atrocities were committed.

History cannot be changed and pronouncing a flag, which has a lot of cultural value for a large part of the population, hate speech will not make any difference.

This ruling sets a dangerous precedent. What about the British flag under which tens of thousands of white and black people perished in concentration camps? Not to mention the old Soviet Union flag that the SACP uses and under which millions of people died.

South Africa’s courts must keep to judging legal issues and must not get dragged into the marches of moral judgements.

Nation building is not forcing one’s will on another. That does not reconcile, it divides. And that is all that this ruling has accomplished.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Corné Mulder on FF Plus

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