Old apartheid flag partially banned in South Africa – here’s what the ruling means

Old apartheid flag partially banned in South Africa – here's what the ruling means

In a momentous decision and 25 years after the end of the apartheid regime, the unwarranted public display of the old apartheid flag has been outlawed.

Judge Phineas Mojapelo, the magistrate who handed down the ruling, declared the “gratuitous display” of the flag will be classed as hate speech in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday. This means that anyone who does not have a justified and defendable reason to use the flag may not do so. The ruling handed down by magistrate Mojapelo does not mean the old flag has been entirely banned.

Under Section 10 of the Equality Act – the flag cannot be flown publicly with the intention to “(a) be hurtful; (b) be harmful or to incite harm; (c) promote or propagate hatred.” If flown in public without cause – the offender may be brought before the Equality Court and will have to prove that they were doing so for a defendable reason or face serious legal repercussions.

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The flag will still be on display in museums and places of historical interest. Judge Mojapelo said that the old flag could only be used when confined to cases of journalistic, academic and artistic expression, anything else would be considered hate speech.

The private use of the flag is still unclear – how or if the South African government will be able to monitor what goes on behind all closed doors in the country is a whole other debate but public brandishing without a justified cause and/or permission is forbidden.

The flag is destructive of our nascent non-racial democracy. It is an affront to the spirit and values of botho/ubuntu, which has become a mark of civilized interaction in post-apartheid South Africa.” – Judge Phineas Mojapelo

Old Flag | Image: Bloomberg

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