South Africa Democratic Alliance Party Mocks South African LGBTI Protests to Protect Rights

DA Party Manny de Freitas calls protests Gay Pride Parade and Helen Zille remains silent

by Melanie Nathan, May 22, 2012.

Mr de freitas does this look like a mere gay pride parade?

Pursuant to nationwide protests in South Africa this weekend, the opposing Democratic Alliance (DA) party has failed to issue any official  press statement in support of the South African LGBTI community which held events to protest the review of the SA Constitution by Traditional Leaders that brings into question  the constitutional protections relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The only remarks on the record are those of DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Manny de Freitas who has reportedly said in a letter to the Press:

 “Just like apartheid – you were either for or against – you either believed in LGTBI rights or not. That fight is now over. Pride parades are no longer opportunities for protest and the demanding equal rights for all.

Here is my response in an open letter to Mr. de Fretias, who I happen to share a Birthday with:

Dear Hon. Minister de Freitas,

Re: Your Remarks (ABOVE)

South Africa is a democracy and your mocking of the LGBTI democratic expression, through protest marches, while expressing  legitimate concern for LGBTI rights, however trite you may think it to be, is disconcerting.

Your cryptic comments are not only a slap in the face to the SA LGBTI community, but also fail your entire DA Party as well as your constituents.   Its suggests that you do not understand nor respect the Constitution and what it represents. Worse yet your dilatory response denotes that you think it is acceptable for officials charged with an oath to uphold the Constitution, may instead attack it, with impunity.

The SA LGBTI community marched this past weekend and delivered  20,000 signatures to parliament because they believe their rights are under attack.  They protested because they believe that Chief Holomisa, given his various positions, including head the CRC, has a conflict of interests, after noting his homophobic remarks.

Instead of conveying the truth and  understanding, you have shirked your duty and failed  to show the courage of a true representative.  Your comments do nothing more than attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the larger South African community, when you could have used this as an opportunity to focus on and correct the rampant homophobia experienced by LGBTI people in South Africa.  You also failed to seize the opportunity to educate all South Africans about the magnificence of the all inclusive South African Constitution  with the lesson that entrenched rights  should never ever come up for review.  You also stupidly threw away an “opposing political moment” when you could have shed some light on the duplicity of the ANC.

There should be no legitimate procedure available, under any circumstances, for Members of Parliament, Committees, Traditional Leaders, etc. to ever review rights of any of South Africa’s groups, if they are indeed, as you intimate, fully entrenched the Constitution.

Until such process is eradicated as an option, the well being of all minorities remain, in essence,  unprotected and anyone who cannot see that is not deserving of a seat in Parliament. Why should women have to endure the recent discussions by Traditionalists who wanted to remove some basic protections against draconian tradition that hurt women and children?  Why should gays have to feel the need to take to the streets because of Government sanctioned homophobia through a legitimated forum that has allowed Holomisa to make his unsavory remarks?

Until the process of reviewing fully entrenched rights is eradicated as unconstitutional, any class of South Africans whose rights are reviewed, are in essence persecuted, for the duration of the review process.

Sir, I do not think you fully grasp how damaging and hurtful this is to the South African LGBTI community. Maybe the LGBTI community will become more important to you when you realize that they are no longer voting for you. Your dismissive stance  and condescending comments are no better than those of Holomisa himself.

I suggest you issue a clarifying statement or at the very least other DA members distance themselves and the DA issue a formal statement on the subject so that the South African gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex community can establish the extent or lack thereof of DA support. They have a right to know.

In Pride with All South Africans,

Melanie Nathan B.A. LL.B
Always in love with the land of my birth,  South Africa
nathan@privatecourts.com

P.S. Where is Helen Zille on all this?

Call to Action Note:- Inviting my friends in South Africa to sign on to this letter and to feel free to fax and/or email as many copies of it from SA to the offices of the DA, Zille and de Freitas. Its not possible for me to do that from here. If you do so, let me know via FB, Twitter #defreitas, or nathan@privatecourts.com

Thanks,

Mel.

South African National Protests by Gay Rights Activists Sheds Light on ANC Weakness

by on May 20, 2012

What happened to the Madibe and ANC assurance that all South Africans will be protected from persecution? Now SA Gays are under attack by members of the ANC. By Melanie Nathan, May 20, 2012. South Africans may have been surprised today as hundreds of people took to the streets of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and […]

Protests in Johannesburg as Gays Unfold Rainbow Flag on Constitutional Hill

by on May 19, 2012

South African LGBT Community and allies marching to protect the South African Constitution By Melanie Nathan, May 19, 2012. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Johannesburg , Saturday, as the LGBTI community in South Africa today marched, protesting against the Traditional leaders of South Africa’s decision to review the rights of Lesbian Gay […]

My Speech in San Francisco for International Day Against Homophobia

by on May 18, 2012

By Melanie Nathan  May 18,2012, In many countries, around the world LGBTI people face harassment, intimidation, violence, ostracism, hate crimes, and even death, just because of their sexuality. Today at least 100 countries are commemorating International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with meetings, praying, rallies and vigils – We are here at United Nations Plaza […]

South African LGBTI Coalition Organizes Nartionwide Marches to Protect the Constitution

by on May 16, 2012

This is about protecting the Constitution for ALL South Africans and so whether LGBTI or not, all South Africans should participate. By Melanie Nathan, May 16, 2012. A powerful and unified coalition of South African LGBTI groups have formed to promote nationwide marches to protest the House of Traditional Leaders to Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee […]

Traditional Leaders Should Not Forget What South Africa’s Freedom Means to the World

by on May 14, 2012

We celebrate the founding principles of the new South Africa, a country that knows what courage means. : Democracy, Justice,  Equality, and  Human rights. By Melanie Nathan, May 14, 2012. While South African traditional leaders ignore South Africa’s importance in the world with their draconian ideals, as they question the validity of their own equality […]

Outrageous Interview with South Africa ANC’s Patekile Holomisa Indicates Homophobia

by on May 13, 2012

Holomisa is saying that LGBTI people should not be protected by the Constitution because some people believe they are not entitled to those rights. He is forgetting that thinking is the very reason why their rights are so protected.

What remains is the question of what next – while traditionalists ought to have a voice in South Africa’s Parliament, they should be banned from sitting on committees where they have an inherent conflict of interest. Which means they should be excused from serving in positions where they risk impacting the entrenched rights of minorities such as gays, lesbians etc.

Homophobia | Navi Pillay vs Patekile Holomisa

by on May 8, 2012

WATCH VIDEO The UN  human rights Commissioner’s view of gays vs traditionalist South African view of gays (LGBTI) By Melanie Nathan May 08, 2012 South Africa emerged from the Apartheid era with a “never again” zest; but now that fervor is being tested with members of the South African Parliament, who took oaths to uphold […]

Nkosi Patekile Holomisa Not Fit to Serve the South African Constitution

by on May 7, 2012

By Melanie Nathan, May 07, 2012. South African ANC Member of Parliament  Nkosi Patekile Holomisa is in the hot seat; he is faced with a conflict of interest, a controversial issue and a remark that renders him unfit to serve in any elected and appointed positions. The comments followed a submission by the House of […]

South African Traditional Leaders Insult Gay Community with Consitutional Review

by on May 7, 2012 in Africa, EVENTS, LGBT, Organizations, POLITICAL VIEWS, Rally, WORLD { Edit }

Explanation and Comments by Mr. Gay South Africa By Melanie Nathan, May 07,2012. On Friday last week I reported that the  South African Constitution  has been lauded for its lead on the entrenchment of anti-discrimination rights that renders it one of the few in the world to protect sexual orientation and gender identity in its […]

South Africa’s Shocking Constitutional Review of its Sexual Orientation Rights

by on May 4, 2012

Activists are concerned as decades of lobbying and progress for LGBTI rights in South Africa are under threat. Nelson Mandela: ” Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another” By Melanie Nathan, May 04, 2012. Since the end of Apartheid and the […]


10 thoughts on “South Africa Democratic Alliance Party Mocks South African LGBTI Protests to Protect Rights

  1. Do you know the worst thing about all of the anti-LGBT sentiment?

    The ones spouting it know- they DO know deep down- that sexual orientation is a naturally occurring state of being for some people. So, it basically means that even though they are aware, they are still going forward to mistreat, dismiss, degrade, & murder other human beings anyway. How truly sick is that? As far as I’m concerned, this sort of attitude & the hate that drives it ought to be criminalized.

  2. I think its just fare that everybody has the right to be who and what they feel like being stop critisising the lgtbi right stop discriminating agiants ppl its not nyc and its not fare 90 % of the world @population will becum gay and I love it I wish the whole world cudve being gay but ja we dnt always get what we won’t now do we let the DA and the ANC and cope and all the other politicions cum and join us fight for our rights to be who we want to be and to free living our lives the way we want it dnt take away our pride and joy as SA citizens its wrong ill stop to vote for the DA and start voting for every gay person in the world

  3. I feel it pertinent to post the FULL letter here so that the statement can be read in context.

    I certainly don’t believe De Freitas “mocked” anyone. In fact his own partner was at the one of the protests. As one of only two openly gay MP’s willing to support gay issues publicIy think De Freitas deserves to be applauded and not hauled over the coals by people looking for a story where there is not one.

    The worst thing we can do as the gay community is alienate our own kind when for the first time in years the community has worked together on something.

    Organisers of the protests and myself said before the protests that we were not worried that the constitution would be changed, but against traditional leaders who do not respect out constitution. (See also debate on the Traditional Courts Bill)

    We no longer need to flight for rights, as they do exist on paper, but we need to see that those rights are recognised. LGBTI people are still being discriminated against and persecuted, and for many the rights protected in the constitution seem a million mile’s away.

    Furthermore, the heading of this article smacks of sensationalism. The DA is the only party that has proved that it is fully behind the LGBTI community, and was the only party that when the Civil Union Bill was debated in parliament said that having the word “union” instead of “marriage” for same-sex couples was a form of discrimination. The party’s leader, Helen Zille has stated that she fully endorses the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and its commitment to the right of all to determine their sexual orientation, going on to say that everyone has the right to be themselves and live a life they value.

    The FULL letter is below:

    Dear Editor,

    A new cause is needed by the LGBTI community to fight for

    Over a week ago the social media was aflutter with claims that Parliament wanted to amend our constitution to remove the sexual orientation clause. I was puzzled at the time considering that I have the privilege of being a member of the national Assembly. This was the first that I’d heard about this.

    Over the weekend someone tried to convince me that the proposals by the Middle Age Style house of Traditional Leaders was completely formal. He simply wouldn’t accept my more luke-warm attitude to these ludicrous amendments. Even if the proposals by traditional kings (and queens) were taken up, there are enough voices of reason in all parties to oppose them.

    It was easy before the birth of our democracy. Just like apartheid – you were either for or against – you either believed in LGTBI rights or not. That fight is now over. Pride parades are no longer opportunities for protest and the demanding equal rights for all.

    For a while in the 1990’s the new HIV/AIDS pandemic appeared to replace the gay rights fight of old. That fizzled away as medical advances ensured that infected people can live a pretty normal life.

    Perhaps it is time that the LGBTI community find something worth fighting for. Allow me to provide a suggestion.

    Very few people; irrespective of which side of the tiara your stand on, have even asked why kings and chiefs of the various royal houses have a problem with gays and their rights? Why are some people who are perfectly logical in all matters excepting for when it comes to matters of homosexuality?

    I dare say it is because of a lack of education – this is not formal education I am referring to. I refer to the lack of understanding of what homosexuality is. Why homosexuals exist. That they pose no danger to society or children. No, children do not “learn to become gay” or “suddenly decide” to become gay.

    It is everyone’s duty, irrespective of one’s sexual orientation to explain and educate those that we refer to as bigots. Often all it takes is a detailed discussion to start the process of getting a person to change their perception and to get them to start thinking logically

    This is our duty – a campaign and concrete action that you and I can do today and in the future.

    Sincerely,

    Manny de Freitas MP
    Member of Parliament
    Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
    Member of Parliament for Johannesburg South
    Democratic Alliance

    1. Lance – Thank you for commenting on my site however – The context you place defreitas comments in only exacerbate my disdain for them.

      I believe you miss the more critical points of the what is going on with the community anger – the fact is their Constitutional rights should never ever be the subject of review under any circumstances. That should be the argument not the red herring that the Defreitas presents with his arguments about homosexuality and the education needed to embrace its acceptance. Of course that is an obvious – a given – but his point has no place in this context – it is a given and NGO’s should indeed be working like crazy you get people in SA Educated.

      However deFReitas as a Gay man ought to be ashamed of his comments as they relate to the community which he clearly out of touch with. The comments are are degrading and do very little to speak to the issue at hand.

      LANCE I understand your difficulty. You have been crowned Mr GAY SA and are runner up in Mr Gay World. That carries with it a great expectation of activism for the community that crowned you and whose interest you are supposed to represent. Yet you are a DA member with a political career as an elected DA official. The risk for a conflict of interest to you is huge and YET you play into the watering down of the real problem here and defnd Freitas.

      Why did deFreitas not seize the opportunity to support the LGBTI community unconditionally that would have gone much furter than pointing the finger in the different direction where he is mudding the waters.

      Lance I am sorry you are placed in this difficult position a balance between your DA career and your activism for the community cannot be easy. You may find you need to choose which side serves you best and which side serves the community best?

      1. PS “Alienate our own kind?” Perhaps Defreitas has alienated his own kind and you may be heading in that direction too LAnce!

  4. Letter to the Editor

    Dear Editor,

    Out of a letter action is generated
    Earlier this month I issued a letter expressing my opinion. In the letter I said that I feel that the LGBTI community needs to find a new cause to fight for. I was bombarded with correspondence of all descriptions. The reaction to my letter was as varied and wide in opinion and attitude as the community itself. I thank those that chose to engage even when, at times, they disagreed with my opinion. I thank those that chose to simply insult and belittle me. I simply become stronger with that. In one particular case a person made me feel the same way that religious fundamentalists and bigots make me feel when they stand on the sidelines at a parade or a march. Ironic, isn’t it!?

    Many people felt that my letter was smug and arrogant. I was surprised with these comments as this was not my intention. The colleagues and friends I consulted with, who provide me honest feedback, confirmed this. I am thus apologising unreservedly as this was not the way I wanted to come across. I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

    Just to clarify: I have indeed been to funerals in townships and elsewhere where both gay men and lesbian women have been killed. I am well aware of the crimes being committed on our lesbian women, particularly those from township communities, in an attempt to “straighten” them out. I am also working on matter that few others have the privilege to come across; such as a case of a transgender person who is suffering under the maladministration, prejudice and purposefully slow administrative processes of the Department of Home Affairs. I am on the brink of victory for this courageous woman after many months of fighting on her behalf.

    There was clearly a misunderstanding in my first letter where I wasn’t clear enough. Of course citizens should march on important issues such as the defence of rights. The recent march to reinforce the sexual orientation clauses in our Constitution is such an example. My point however, is that the annual Pride parades that take place in our large cities have turned into nothing more than a celebration, from what they were originally – that of a demonstration of protest during our dark past.

    Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating, as is done at the well known Pride occasions, we should recognise that this is what they are- celebrations – not protests or a demonstration for or against an issue. This was the gist of my letter.

    Out of my letter has come some public debate which I believe was needed. Irrespective of whether people agreed with me or not, it generated emotions, passion and excitement – exactly what we need! Out of that I have received a request from a Cape Townian to join hands with him in looking at how to education both the LGBTI community and those that do not know or understand it. This can only be positive.

    Sincerely,

    Manny de Freitas MP
    Shadow Home Affairs Minister
    Member of Parliament for Johannesburg South
    Democratic Alliance
    (Unsigned as transmitted electronically)

    1. “I am sorry IF I offended anyone” – How can you be sorry “IF” – you should either admit your language was offensive or don’t pretend to apologize at all. Mr DeFreitas I am not sure if it is you who posted this Letter to the Editor here on my site or if it Mr. Lance Weyer or Coenie Kukkuk who have been posting this same letter on FaceBook in several places – But you have only made matters worse.

      I was informed that you are a gay man and when I heard that it made your initial comments even worse and your back handed apology worthless. As a gay man you should have come out and noted your support the minute we started arrangements to protest. Given that your own Partner apparently marched – why would you not come out openly and overtly in support of the March and endorse the message being conveyed by the protests.

      Instead you come out slamming the marches by telling the protestors that they should “find a new cause” – who are you to advise the community on course and direction if you dont even have the balls to come out during a time of crisis in solidarity with your community? By telling them to have a new cause you are negating their current cause. You are in essence telling them that they should not be angry at Holomisa and the CRC’s review of the protections for LGBTI in the Constitution, just because you do not think it is going to pass.

      My point is they LGBTI community has a cause and it is one you have still failed to address – the cause is to protest the CRC’s review of the Constitution and to try and find a means or mechanism to ensure enshrined rights never ever come for review. To endorse the notion that Constitutional rights are there to be taken away, only added to. Do you deny this cause? Do you support this cause? Nowhere have you said you support the cause – you only said you support their right to march.

      Your letter continues to ignore the issue at hand, and does nothing but make excuses for your behavior – it sidetracks to other LGBTI issues which are not the subject of the CRC review.

      Join hands with who? Some Cape Tonian? What the unprofessional wishy washy sidetrack crap is that? Education is critical of course! And you should be working with more than “one Cape Tonian” on that! This does not solve the problem at hand.

      What about the CRC and an open statement in support of the protest message- maybe then your apology would mean something.

      Sorry Mr. Defreitas but you just made matters worse.

  5. It seems to me the DA, or at least some of its representatives, may be falling into the same trap as the ANC – their representatives screw up and instead of admitting it and apologizing and moving past it, they release statements to disguise it, confuse people, and cover it up. They try to “clarify” things by saying “Eish – What I MEANT to say was” and then say something completely DIFFERENT to what was in the original statement. They alienate their supporters further by criticising those who are dissatisfied with their screw ups, and intimate that their supporters “don’t know how democracy works” and are just a bunch of stupid ignorant activists anyway, and not “proper” politicians. They attempt to hush dissent instead of owning up to their faults. This is NOT acceptable behavior from a party which makes all the claims it makes in this country, especially in terms of opposition to censorship – and this is also completely unacceptable behavior from gay people who supposedly gain their popularity and support and influence within the community based on the fact that they are gay and supposedly represent our interests in whatever political party they serve. There comes a point where brand loyalty becomes facetious and contrary to the best interests of the community they serve, and this entire affair has become a distasteful “battle of the brands”, with certain individuals jockeying for position to appoint themselves as community leaders – and I think the sooner it comes to an end, the better for our community.

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