The Congress of South Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the ruling by Judge Phineas Mojapelo of the High Court in Johannesburg for declaring that a “gratuitous display” of the old national flag constitutes hate speech and therefore, incites hatred against black people in terms of the Equality Act.
We agree with the judge’s assertion that “the Flag Act was part of a scheme of statutes designed to enact white supremacy and black disenfranchisement”.Apartheid was nothing but an omnipresent and vicious rule of white racial supremacy.
The old South African flag symbolizes the enslavement and dehumanization of millions of black people and evokes feelings of terror for many of them who remember the atrocities that were committed to them under apartheid.
For South Africans who value freedom and equality for all, regardless of racial or ethnic background, the old flag represents racism and hate.
Many South Africans are still victims of racism on a daily basis. The effects of the apartheid system of separate development are still being felt by many South Africans and the majority of black people are still subjected to lives of brute survival. Many black farmworkers are still victims of racial attitudes and they are treated as glorified slaves by a considerable majority of white farmers.
If the Nazi flag and the Confederate flag can be denounced in Germany and America, there is no reason to keep glorifying the apartheid flag. We all need to recognise our fundamental responsibility to continue the fight to end racism wherever it exists.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794