The South African Human Rights Commission has hit back at the stance of the South African Department of Home Affairs on the proposed trip of the anti-gay American Pastor Steven Anderson who celebrated the deaths of 49 people in Orlando.
The Department of Home Affairs said that they cannot turn away Pastor Anderson because of the comments he made in the United States.
The Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete was quoted saying that they fully support the petition not to allow the Pastor to hold an event in South Africa but they don’t have the power to revoke his visa.
“We fully support the online petition. We will take it to the Human Rights Commission. If someone from another country says something whilst not in the country we have no power to stop them from coming”.
Pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church made headlines last month when he posted a video after the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, where gay people were targeted and 49 were killed.
The Pastor openly celebrated the Orlando massacre last month , by telling his congregation that:
“The good news is that there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and paedophiles”, he said.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said they have received a strongly worded letter from people saying that the Pastor should not visit South Africa in September citing that his words were hateful, hurtful and also harmful to the members of the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI).
The commission has said the Home Affairs sentiments about Pastor Anderson are incorrect considering the sections of the Immigration Act, 29 and 30 which can be used on this case.
The SAHRC used section 29, reads with regulation 26, which contains the categories of foreigners considered to be “prohibited persons” and therefore do not qualify for a port of entry visa or admission into the Republic.
The other section used is section 30, read with regulation 27, allows the director – general or minister to declare listed categories of foreigners “undesirable” and thus disqualified to enter into the country.
The commission is waiting for a response from the Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba and Director – General Mkuseli Apleni on the issue.
The Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) on Monday added its name to a list of people who are opposing to let the pastor Steven Anderson visit South Africa, and called for his visa to be rejected.
“We condemn Anderson’s antisemitic, homophobic, and hateful views, and call on the South African authorities to decline his visa to visit our shores where he will continue to spread deeply prejudiced vitriol,” they said in a statement.