david mabuza ff plus land grabs

Photo: @DDMabuza / TW

David Mabuza labelled “disgraceful” for comments on homosexuality

This is not a good look for David Mabuza: He’s been called a coward and a disgrace on Friday, for his meek comments on homosexuality laws in Africa.

david mabuza ff plus land grabs

Photo: @DDMabuza / TW

South Africa’s Constitution is rightly heralded as one of the most progressive documents in the world. Drafted in the 1990s after the fall of apartheid, the bill implicitly protects minority groups and enshrines their human rights, regardless of race, gender or even sexuality. So David Mabuza’s recent comments on homosexuality are disappointing, to say the least.

David Mabuza on homosexuality: “Let’s keep our mouths shut”

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, the deputy president was asked to condemn the brutal laws in other African countries which have made homosexuality a crime. Uganda in particular was cited, following the backwards introduction of the death penalty for anyone deemed to be in a gay relationship.

However, David Mabuza spectacularly bottled the opportunity to take a stand. Instead, he bent the knee to our African counterparts and suggested South Africa “should keep its mouth shut” when it comes to the business of other countries. It’s not a good look…

“Our laws should not be in violation of international laws that we are signatories to. South Africa only intervenes in situations where parties in conflict officially requests her assistance or intervention. Our country respects the sovereignty of other nations. Let’s be decent and keep our mouths shut.”

“The way we believe in things as South African, we must not impose our beliefs on everyone. But we will seek to negotiate, to persuade people to see things the way we see them and we are going to use the platforms that are provided for.”

David Mabuza

Homosexual rights abuses across Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa’s right-hand-man was responsible for sending out mixed messages, too. In what was essentially the same breath, David Mabuza claimed that violating the rights of the LGBTQI+ community “demeans South Africans”, but also went on to suggest there was no need to condemn these intolerant countries.

“We want to echo the Presidents call when he said the violation of the rights and equal worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people demeans our common humanity as South Africans.”

“In cases where our positions, values and approaches are in conflict with other countries, SA is of the view that such matters are best resolved at multinational forums as provided for by our international conventions.”

David Mabuza

David Mabuza blasted by the DA

The reaction has been one of abject horror across social media. And, of course, Mabuza is facing some serious heat from the opposition. Nicole Graham is a DA councillor, and she voiced her concerns on the matter earlier on Friday. Her takedown was pretty unflinching:

“This is disgraceful. He is appeasing despots who want to kill innocent people because of who they love and have consensual adult sex with – it’s the worst kind of cowardice. But what do we expect from David Mabuza?”

Nicole Graham

John Steenhuisen campaigns for “action” against the deputy president

The DA also brought one of their big guns to the table. John Steenhuisen, the party’s Parliamentary leader, was left raging by the “cowardice” exhibited by David Mabuza on Thursday. Steenhuisen has also asked President Ramaphosa to “discipline” his deputy.

“South Africa ought to be a vocal champion of human rights and a torchbearer for progressive, compassionate politics. The Deputy President’s conduct in Parliament yesterday smacks of cowardice. Our nation and our continent deserve much better.”

“Therefore, I call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to strongly rebuke Deputy President Mabuza’s remarks on homosexuality and blatant refusal to condemn these actions, and to break this government’s silence by taking a strong public stance against the attack on LGBTQI+ Africans in many countries on the continent.”

John Steenhuisen

David Mabuza’s limp response to a question which required robust assurances won’t sit well with a majority of South Africans who value the constitution. Silence and mealy-mouthed platitudes in the face of such abhorrent policies suggests a complicity with states like Uganda. Sovereignty or otherwise, there is never a good reason to condone homophobia.