The Western Cape branch of South Africa’s African National Conference (ANC) party has slammed homophobic hate crimes in the country and homophobia inside the party.
The Western Cape province ANC held a joint conference with LGBT rights group Gay Flag of South Africa, at which its branch secretary condemned homophobia inside the party and in the country.
‘It is our combined hope that this message will shift public perception to mutual acceptance and make it clear that hate crimes will no longer be tolerated,’ Western Cape provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said.
‘Gone are the days when we used culture to discriminate against others … Culture evolves with society. Social stereotyping is against the ANC’s norms.’
‘It is my belief that gay rights are human rights and that no homophobic violence or prejudice should be tolerated … The ANC’s values are guided by the South African constitution, where we develop an equal, non-sexist, non-racial and non-homophobic nation.’
Mjongile said that socially conservative views were fueling attacks on lesbians living in South Africa’s black townships, including so-called ‘corrective rapes.’
‘I think the rights of women must be respected equally,’ Mjongile said.
‘Women have got the right to say whether they want to bear children, whether they want to be single or whether they want get married, in the same way that men have.’
The comments by the ANC provincial secretary follow a sexist gaff from South African President Jacob Zuma in which he told a television interviewer that it was ‘a problem’ for women to be unmarried.
‘I wouldn’t want to stay with daughters who are not getting married,’ Zuma told SABC3 TV.
‘I know that people today think being single is nice. It’s actually not right. That’s a distortion. You’ve got to have kids.’
In 2006 Zuma called same-sex marriage ‘a disgrace to the nation and to God,’ however his government has stood up to calls by tribal chiefs to strip protections for sexual minorities from the country’s constitution and earlier this year he spoke of ‘building a nation that does not discriminate against other people because of their color or sexual orientation.’