Gqeberha shop owner probed over ban on LGBTQ+ community

A Gqeberha shop owner’s sign banning members of the LGBTI+ community from entering has elicited outrage.

A Gqeberha shop owner’s sign banning members of the LGBTI+ community from entering has elicited outrage.

Published Aug 3, 2023


A Gqeberha shop owner who put up a sign outside his establishment effectively banning gay, lesbian and transgender people from entering his business premises, could face a R500 000 fine.

The sign which reads “LGBTQ not welcome at La Gardi save our children” outside the establishment has caused an outrage with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) instituting legal action against the shop owner for alleged hate speech discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.

La Gardi is a packaging, spices, dairy and baking supplies store.

The owner, Dawood Lagardien who did not deny erecting the poster, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The SAHRC said it launched an investigation following complaints from the Gqeberha LGTBQIA+ community and the public when the sign was put up.

The commission said despite its intervention, Lagardien refused to remove the sign and maintained his stance on the matter on social media.

The SAHRC subsequently approached the Equality Court in Gqeberha last month, and details of the allegations of discrimination, hate speech and harassment levelled against Lagardien were sent to him last week.

SAHRC commissioner André Gaum said hate speech and discrimination would not be tolerated.

“We want to make it clear that private businesses cannot unfairly discriminate others.

“In our affidavit to the Equality Court, we have asked for damages of R500 000 to be paid to a civil society organisation of the commission’s choice,” he said.

Lagardien has been given nine days to respond.

LGBTQ+ organisation, OUT human rights co-ordinator Sibonelo Ncanana said refusing to serve or provide services based on sexual orientation or gender is not only unconstitutional, but also illegal under South African laws.

“This attempt to impose a form of ‘apartheid’ on LGBTQ+ people is outrageous and must be immediately addressed.

“It goes beyond freedom of expression and constitutes outright discrimination.

“It seems that some in our country have not learnt from the lessons of our past when people were segregated and denied services based on who they were.

“OUT has lodged a complaint with the SAHRC regarding the La Gardi policy and sign and calls for swift measures to be taken against the owner,” Ncanana said.

Cape Times