You know what, I really didn’t want to write this editorial. I had a lovely piece all written up about the Springboks’ amazing victory tour and how inspiring it was. It was going to be a nice break from the more serious stuff that has been happening lately, a respite from the often depressing discourse.
But then deputy president David Mabuza had to go and open his stupid mouth and ruin all of that.
For those of you who don’t know, Mabuza went before the National Council of Provinces last week and said in no uncertain terms that for all he cared, LGBTQIA+ people can go take a hike off a cliff.
When asked if he would condemn the return of Uganda’s despicable “kill the gays” bill which introduces the death penalty for homosexuality, Mabuza had this to say:
“In this regard, our government upholds the international principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. SA only intervenes in situations where parties in conflict officially request assistance and/or intervention.
“You can’t put yourself to be morally above others.”
Again, when asked if he would condemn a country that was literally seeking to murder innocent people who had committed no crime, Mabuza chose instead to throw up his hands and ask what all the fuss was about.
I won’t lie to you, I am bloody furious.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in the past, so this hits close to home.
To see an elected member of parliament – the deputy president, no less! – announce to the world that not only is the government fine with other countries slaughtering people like me as if we were animals but also that WE are are the ones at fault for complaining is absolutely infuriating.
Just imagine for a second if this logic were applied to countries condemning the apartheid regime?
If a member of parliament were to suggest that other countries should have “upheld the international principle of non-interference” and that calling out apartheid atrocities was “putting yourself morally above others”, they would rightly lose their job within the hour.
And yet here we are, where the deputy president can openly declare that he doesn’t care a jot for the safety of LGTBQIA+ people and will likely keep his job with little consequence (if any).
SA’s constitution is unique on the continent in that it unambiguously supports the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. Combine this with the claim from politicians that our foreign policy is supposed to be based on protecting human rights and Mabuza’s position becomes indefensible — not just in a political sense, but in a moral one as well.