Banning apartheid flag infringes on free speech: FAK

The apartheid flags displayed in public with SAPS officers in the background
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An Afrikaans cultural group Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK) says declaring the public displays of the apartheid flag hate speech would amount to the suppression of freedom of speech.

The FAK made these comments in support lobby group AfriForum during its legal battle with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the Equality Court in Johannesburg over the use of the apartheid flag.

The foundation wants the court to declare the gratuitous display of the old apartheid declared hate speech.

FAK says it agrees with AfriForum that the display of the old flag is offensive.

However, FAK’s Lawyer Ian Currie says the issue of the flag should be left to political debates, and not the courts to impose a sanction that they believe would infringe on free speech.

Currie says the symbol is not propaganda for war and does not incite violence; therefore it should not be declared hate speech simply because it’s offensive.

He further argues that the relief sought by the foundation would be similar to the apartheid regime which used repressive laws to control what the oppressed could and could not say.