Zuma's stance on anti-gay laws ‘an insult’

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Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko File photo: Matthew Jordaan

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's failure to condemn Uganda's anti-gay laws is an insult to the Constitution and former president Nelson Mandela's views on human rights which inspired foreign policy, the DA said on Wednesday.

In written response to a parliamentary question posed by Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, Zuma said: “South Africa respects the sovereign rights of other countries to adopt their own legislation.

“In this regard, through diplomatic channels, South Africa engages with Uganda on areas of mutual concern bearing in mind Uganda's sovereignty,” Zuma said.

Mazibuko said she was outraged by Zuma's stance on the matter, adding that the international community did not adopt a “hands-off” approach when South Africa practised apartheid.

“We should likewise not stand quietly by as our president adopts this shameful approach when other countries violate the human rights of their people,” said Mazibuko.

“To do so is to send a message to the rest of the world that we are hypocrites.”

Mazibuko said Zuma and the ANC leadership should hang their heads in shame.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill allowing for repeat homosexual “offenders” to be jailed for life in February.

The legislation also outlawed the promotion of homosexuality and required people to denounce gays and lesbians.

Further explaining Uganda's law, Mazibuko said the East African country would hand down life imprisonment sentences for people who engaged in same-sex marriages.

There was also a seven-year prison sentence for those “attempting to commit homosexuality”.

People could be fined thousands of rands and also be jailed for promoting homosexuality.

The law also stated that the registration of businesses or non-governmental organisations wound be cancelled if they were found guilty of the “promotion of homosexuality”.

Directors of such companies could also face seven years behind bars.

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