Johannesburg - The Department of Home Affairs on Monday said it would be attaching “serious conditions” to the homophobic United States pastor, Steven Anderson, when he visits South Africa later this month for a “Soul-Winning Mission”.
This comes after the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) petitioned Home Affairs to ban Anderson from entering the country.
Anderson, who is widely known for his anti-gay sentiments on social media, is scheduled to preach in Johannesburg on 18 September.
In a statement, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the department had considered carefully the letter from the SA Human Rights Commission with 60 000 members signatures, and the position of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community. “If it is his intention to visit South Africa again, it would be in his best interest to behave in accordance with our laws. We have a precedent regarding a US citizen on which we acted decisively, for the person to leave the country,” Gigaba said.
“There will be serious conditions attached to this visit; we will not hesitate to deport or charge him for wrongdoing.”
Anderson was in the news recently after he reportedly told congregants at his Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church that there are now “50 less paedophiles in this world” following the June 12, massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead.
Gigaba said the SAHRC requested guidance on how to proceed, in light of the provisions of the Immigration Act dealing with prohibited or undesirable persons. He said Sections 29-30 of the Constitution were relevant in this regard following guidance from applicable legislation, and international experience, and the implications thereof for South Africa on how the country dealt with other persons in a similar position.
“As a democratic state, we will not fold our arms in the face of intolerance, hate speech, and human-right violations of any kind,” Gigaba said.
“Therefore, we will not tolerate untoward behaviour, whether directed at the LGBTI community, or at any other national group on our soil. There are options to follow, and steps to be taken, in the event this situation arises.”