AfriForum's head of policy Ernst Roets. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Nelson Mandela Foundation on Friday said they will make an urgent application in the high court to declare Ernst Roets, a representative of AfriForum, in contempt of court.

On Thursday the Equality Court ruled in favour of the foundation when it found that gratuitous displays of the apartheid-era national flag constitutes hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination.

The foundation spokesperson Luzuko Koti said soon after the ruling, Roets, gratuitously and publicly displayed the flag on Twitter under the pretext of academic debate. 

"The Equality Act does not protect academic displays made in bad faith. The foundation is of the view that AfriForum's representative's actions were in bad faith and in contempt of court. It was also disrespectful to the deputy Judge president of the high court," said Koti.

On many occasions, publicly and privately, the foundation has reached out to collaborate with AfriForum and work together towards healing the wounds of the past and building the country described in the constitution. 

"These efforts have been rejected by AfriForum," said Koti.

The ruling was earlier "welcomed" by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which said it appreciates the court’s considered findings and urges all within South Africa to observe this judgment in the fostering of social cohesion.

"The Commission is therefore deeply disturbed by expressions, mostly via social media, in clear violation of this court judgment, which found the gratuitous display of the Old Flag as hate speech," said the SAHRC on Thursday soon after Roets posted the offending image of the old SA flag.

"The SAHRC calls on all South Africans to observe, respect and uphold the rule of law. 

"The Commission will therefore take all necessary steps to ensure the enforcement of this judgment, in preserving South Africa’s delicate social cohesion and the protection of the freedom, dignity and equality of all within South Africa."

African News Agency/ANA