SA election 2009

Citizen and Constitutional rights - what are the implications for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people and gender rights in the current political climate.

April 09, 2009

CAPE TOWN — Triangle Project held a panel discussion titled Citizenship and Constitutional Rights – what are the Implications for LGBTI and gender rights in the current political climate.

Over 200 people attended a meeting at the Claremont Civic Centre organised by Triangle Project to engage political parties on the question of LGBTI rights and the extent to which the political parties' manifestos promote LGBTI empowerment and address discrimination against LGBTI people.

The five political parties that were represented at the discussion were the African National Congress, Congress of the People, Democratic Alliance, Independent Democrats and Inkatha Freedom Party.

In his opening remarks, Triangle Project Deputy Director, Marlow Valentine, noted that "the day-to-day realities of LGBTI persons do not speak to the legislation and the constitution that we have in place."

Some of the key issues raised by those present included:
  • The commitment of political parties to address LGBTI issues as part of broader human rights issues
  • General lack of openness on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex issues by the political parties: none of the party manifestos speak to LGBTI rights.
  • Lack of will from the political parties to want to advance the implementation of legislations that already exist which protect the rights of LGBTI individuals.
  • South African political parties are deficient in representing the interest of LGBTI individuals. There are very few openly gay men or lesbians who represent LGBTI voices in politics.
  • Access to other rights: these include health, education, housing, land, etc.

    All the above lead to perpetuation of violence and discrimination towards LGBTI people and lack of recognition of their existence.

    In responding, Nomaindia Mfketo of the ANC said that despite the ANC's success in the past 14 years to ensure inclusivity to all South Africans, "we are not at a level where we are supposed to be, and platforms like these need to interrogate why. There is a broader problem in the country as state institutions, bureaucracy and the society at large are not as prompt and fully aware of LGBTI rights and issues."

    Kiki Rwexane of COPE said her party is aware that LGBTI rights are "tampered with" and that there is a dire need to review policies as LGBTI people are not covered in the implementation processes.

    The DA represented by Anroux Marais stated that they believe in equality and that human rights principals are of utmost importance and should be upheld to at all times.

    ID representative Brett Herron said: "As the ID we recognise the lack of political will to implement and looking to take the issue up." As a gay man himself, he used the platform to affirm his gay sexual orientation and thereby acknowledged his party's commitment to the inclusion of LGBTI persons in their party and furthering the struggle for human rights for all citizens.

    Mario Ambrosini of the IFP stated that "the cause of LGBTI people is important as it goes with the right to be different. We as the IFP will continue to support this cause."

    Although all political parties expressed their commitment to upholding the Constitution of the country, not one of them was able to mention one Black lesbian who was killed and whose murder had made headlines in South African and international media.

    In a report issued by ActionAid, a large global anti-poverty agency, working with world's poorest people in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission stated: "Hate crimes of this nature require decisive action and those responsible must be held to account." – Issued by Musa Ngubane, Media and Communications Coordinator, Triangle Project, Unit 29, Waverly Business Park, Mowbray, Cape Town

  • Triangle Project is a human rights organisation that service, advances and advocates for the human rights of LGBTI people in the greater Western Cape Province.

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