Picture: succo/Pixabay

Johannesburg - The Equality Court, sitting at the South Gauteng High Court, will on Wednesday deliver its judgment on the possible banning of the old South African flag.

This come after the Nelson Mandela Foundation applied to the Equality Court to declare that gratuitous display of the old flag constitutes hate speech and discrimination based on race - both ills are prohibited by the Equality Act.

A dispute arose between the foundation and lobby group AfriForum concerning the display of the old flag, which was abolished on April 27, 1994.

The matter was heard in court over two days in April.

AfriForum's lawyer, Mark Oppenheimer, suggested to the court that symbols of hate should be allowed to be displayed in public spaces because they educate people about right and wrong. He argued that banning the flag would set a "dangerous precedent".

However, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, countered that freedom of expression was not a founding value of the constitution. 

"When we interpret freedom of expression, we must do so through the lens of dignity and equality."

Advocate Wim Trengrove SC for the Human Rights Commission took the argument further, saying public displays of the flag represented a nostalgia for the old South Africa.

"Nobody is here to try and stop racists from displaying the flag in their private homes. The dispute here is against the public display of such a flag in the faces of black people to say to them 'We wish for a South Africa that oppressed you'," said Trengrove that time. 

African News Agency/ANA