ANC distances itself from gay comments

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The ANC has distanced itself from an MP's comments about people's unwillingness to promote and protect the rights of gays and lesbians.

ANC MP and chairman of the constitutional review committee Patekile Holomisa told City Press newspaper that sexual orientation had always been a touchy subject for the ANC caucus.

“The last time this issue was discussed was about same sex marriages. Most of the people in the caucus were opposed to it, but then Luthuli House and the leadership instructed us to vote for it,” he told the newspaper.

Holomisa is also head of the Congress of Traditional Leaders,

City press reported that the National House of Traditional Leaders had appealed to Parliament to debate removing a Constitutional clause protecting people on the grounds of sexual orientation.

On Sunday, the Office of ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said it had noted, with great concern, Holomisa's remarks about gay rights.

Motshekga said he would meet with Holomisa to discuss the 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 said.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights remained the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa.

Section nine of the Constitution, which outlaws unfair discrimination on grounds including sexual orientation, was one of the core values of the Constitution, said Motshekga.

Any law which denied people the right to their sexual expression devalued them in broader society, affronted their dignity, and breached this section of the Constitution.

Holomisa told the newspaper that gay people should not be “molested and raped” and said that homosexuality occurred when certain cultural rituals had not been performed.

“...(When the rituals are done the person starts to behave like other people in society. I don’t know how it works for people in other cultures and those who live in urban areas,” he said.

Holomisa also told the City Press that some ANC MPs had been coerced by the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters to vote for the Protection of State Information Bill.

“Luthuli House gave instructions, even people who had misgivings about the bill were required to vote in a particular way,” he said.

Motshekga denied this. - Sapa


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