Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi representing the Nelson Mandela Foundation at the Equality Court, made submissions on why the old South African flag should be banned. Picture: Brenda Masilela / African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - AfriForum and the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) on Wednesday vowed to work together towards building a better country following the ruling restricting the display of the old South Africa flag. 

Although Judge Phineas Mojapelo earlier ruled that displaying the old flag constituted hate speech and discrimination based on race, CEO of the NMF, Sello Hatang, afterwards said the judgement was "not a victory" for the organisation until such time the judge’s concluding remarks are achieved.

“He (Mojapelo) pleaded with both AfriForum and us and other organisations that have an interest in this matter who worked together to help achieve what the constitution wants us to do - a nation that celebrates its diversity than one that fights around its differences,” said Hatang.

He added that if the foundation truly wanted to be victorious to honour the memory of anti-apartheid icons Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada, South Africans must acknowledge each other's pain and not throw and hurl insults at each other. 

Ernst Roets, deputy CEO of AfriForum, said: “We would need time to study the judgement before we can respond comprehensively but we can make some preliminary comments. 

"As we have stated in our affidavit as well, President Nelson Mandela said if you want to take away the freedom of others, that means you are yourself a prisoner of hate. We will work together with the NMF.” 

He added that the organisation’s involvement in this case is not that it has some need or urge to display the flag, but their concern is that they have not found sufficient examples yet of government or State dealing with important social issues through the force of law.

Mojapelo said: "The problem that the NMF is trying to resolve, has not been resolved by banning people from expressing their views. We cherish the right to freedom of expression. The flag can still be used as artwork, in academic research and for journalistic purposes and there is no cost order.”  

This ruling by the Equality Court, sitting at the high court in Gauteng, comes after the NMF made an application to the court against the display of the old flag after a farmer’s protest in October 2017 where the parties who were protesting against farm attacks openly displayed their old apartheid-era flags. 

African News Agency (ANA)