Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says American Pastor Steven Anderson and members or associates of his church have been denied entry into South Africa and his visa exemption status will be revoked.
The Minister said this when he briefed journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday after he was petitioned by the LGBTI community, who accused Anderson of hate speech following his anti-gay comments.
“Mr Steven Anderson and members or associates of his church are prohibited from entering the Republic of South Africa.
“This prohibition will be implemented in terms of section 29(1)(d) of the Immigration Act.
“This section affords the department the legal means to prohibit a foreigner who is ‘a member of or adherent to an association or organisation advocating the practice of racial hatred or social violence’,” he said.
The controversial American pastor stands accused of making repeated anti-gay comments. He later recorded and posted a video on social media making derogatory remarks about the LGBTI community and also making inappropriate insults against Minister Gigaba.
The Minister said he had informed Home Affairs Director-General Mkhuseli Apleni that he has identified Anderson and his associates as “undesirable persons”, adding that such people are barred from travelling to South Africa for periods determined by the department.
“Furthermore, I have withdrawn their visa exemption status, enjoyed by all Americans.
“This is on the basis that I am certain they promote hate speech as well as advocate social violence.
“Accordingly, Steven Anderson will be advised that he is a prohibited person in South Africa,” he said.
The Minister’s decision comes after weeks of consultations with leaders from the LGBTI community and other stakeholders, including the South African Human Rights Commission.
He said South Africa has to work towards reaching its constitutional values to build a democratic, united, non-racial and non-sexist state. This means it is a constitutional imperative for organs of state and society at large to protect and jealously defend the rights of all people.
He said the department has also had instances in the past wherein its own officials had treated LGBTI persons “in a manner that is inconsistent with our laws”.
“It is common cause that LGBTI persons, not only in this country but worldwide, face daily atrocities for defining their identity, including ridicule, abuse, bullying, homophobia, brutal assault and rape.”
He said according to a Progressive Prudes survey released last Friday, over the previous 12 months, around half a million South Africans have physically harmed women who dressed and behaved like men in public, and 24 000 have beaten up men who dressed liked women.
The Minister also said that approximately 700 000 South Africans verbally abused gender non-conforming people.
The Minister said over 60 000 petitions were collected and presented by Gay Radio SA to the Department and the South African Human Rights Commission, pleading for the protection of the rights of the LGBTI.