Johannesburg - South Africa will seek clarification from various countries about their laws on sexual orientation, a government official said on Tuesday.
International relations department spokesman Clayson Monyela said government had noted the recent global issues on lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and intersexuals (LGBTI).
On Tuesday, a Zambian court reportedly freed a rights activist arrested last year for publicly advocating gay rights.
On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off an anti-gay bill which would see gays imprisoned. The bill stated that first-time “offenders” could be jailed for up to 14 years while repeat offenders could face life imprisonment.
“South Africa believes that no persons should be subjected to discrimination or violence on any ground, including on the basis of sexual orientation,” Monyela said in a statement.
He said the country respected the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms as a critical pillar of domestic and foreign policies. These were enshrined in the Constitution.
He acknowledged South Africa still had its own issues relating to LGBTI.
In June last year, Duduzile Zozo, 26, was found brutally murdered in Tokoza, on the East Rand, in what was suspected to be a lesbian attack. Police said a toilet brush had been inserted into her vagina. She was strangled. A man believed to have been a friend of hers has since been arrested.
Monyela said government had adopted measures aimed at enhancing protection and putting an end to violence against the LGBTI community.
“To this end, our focus will also be on ensuring that acts of violence do not go unpunished and that perpetrators are apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and appropriately sentenced,” said Monyela.