South African traditional leaders want no rights for gay people

LGBT people suffer in South Africa at the hands of lawmakers

South African traditional leaders want no rights for gay people
07 May 2012

South Africa’s National House of Traditional Leaders reportedly wants parliament to delete a clause in the constitution that guarantees equal rights to gay people.

The African National Congress (ANC) will consider the proposal from the traditional leaders, who advise the government on laws and customs among various ethnic groups.

South Africa is the only country in the continent to allow gay marriage and adoption in its constitution, adopted after the fall of apartheid in 1994.

ANC lawmaker and traditionalist Patekile Holomisa said leaders had imposed equal rights for gays on party members and the country’s people.

He told City Press: ‘The great majority does not want to give promotion and protection to these things.’

Holomisa said the ruling party will lose votes if they ignore the traditional values of the voters.

He added that homosexuality is ‘a condition that occurs when certain rituals have not been performed’.

In a statement made by the ANC, they said: ‘The ANC believes any law which denies people the right to their sexual expression devalues them in our broader society and as such is an affront to their dignity and a breach of our constitution.’

A statement from the Democratic Alliance demanded that Holomisa should be suspended from duty until he apologised.

A Gay Star News reader Jay Botha got in touch to explain the terrors many LGBT people still face in South Africa. Botha said many lesbians still suffer ‘corrective rape’, when men rape women to ‘fix’ their sexuality.

She added a favourite way of getting rid of lesbians is forcing women and girls into marriage, often to men old enough to be their grandfather.

Botha explained about a female friend, a lesbian, trapped in an abusive relationship.

She told GSN: ‘She has the meagre means to leave with her three children but she gets beaten to a pulp and the children knocked around when she tries to leave. The Bundu court ruled the husband may use any means he deems necessary to keep his wife in line.

‘She’s raped on a daily basis and fear her children will be subjected to the same punishment, as the husband calls it. Forced sex within marriage is a crime of rape.

‘The husband knows my friend is a lesbian and he’s only holding on to her because of his ego and the notion that homosexuality is un- African.’

Botha added: ‘We have equal rights and equal marriage rights now. Can you imagine what will happen to us if they do strip us of our rights?’ 

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