The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) maintained its calls for a debate on the removal of gay and lesbian rights in the South African constitution. Setlamorago Thobejane, Contralesa secretary-general, said in a radio interview that South Africa is the only African country that has legalised same sex marriages.
He said majority of South Africans do not believe in gays and lesbians and the laws of the country must conform to the principles of the society.
Thobejane believes that the current provisions of the constitution on sexual orientation will cause confusion in the future and that gays are not natural. “We will not have children in future,” he told SABC News. He added that gays are bad examples to the children.
City Press reported that the National House of Traditional Leaders had appealed to parliament to debate scrapping the constitutional clause protecting people based on their sexual orientation.
Patekile Holomisa, who is also a head of Contralesa and chair of the constitutional review committee, told the newspaper that “the last time this issue was discussed was about same sex marriages. Most of the people in the caucus were opposed to it.” Being an ANC MP, he told the newspaper that sexual orientation had always been a hot topic for the ANC caucus.
But the African National Congress (ANC) has since distanced itself from the Contralesa comment and the MP’s comment to advocate for the scrapping of the gay and lesbian rights in the constitution.
Mathole Motshekga, ANC chief whip, said it was concerned with Holomisa’s remarks. “The ANC caucus distances itself from these views and would like it noted that at no stage has it considered debating this issue before parliament,” Motshekga told SAPA. He said section 9 of the constitution, which outlaws unfair discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation, was one of the core values of the constitution.
South Africa could come under fire for scrapping the rights of sexual minorities. Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were sentenced by the Malawian authorities for a maximum of 14 years in prison after been convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts after holding an engagement ceremony. But the two were later pardoned by the late Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika and released from prison after Malawi under fire from the international community.
Since 2001, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden legalised same-sex marriages.
In Africa, countries like Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe oppose gay or same-sex marriage.