The Qwelane case: When human rights meet human rights

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09/20/2020

When there is a clash between rights, then equality and dignity must be the stars that guide us on the path to resolution, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC contends in his written argument in the upcoming Constitutional Court matter on the limits of free speech. The clash, between the right to freedom of expression and the right to be protected from hate speech, is at the centre of the Jon Qwelane case, which will be heard by the apex court next week. In 2008, Qwelane penned an opinion piece for the Sunday Sun with the headline, “Call me names, but gay is NOT okay.” Qwelane wrote — among other offensive statements — “Homosexuals and their backers will call me names, printable and not, for stating as I have always done my serious reservations about their ‘lifestyle and sexual preferences’, but quite frankly I don’t give a damn: wrong is wrong!”

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