Media Statements

Home> Newsroom> Statements

Justice Department welcomes strong action against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

16 February 2017

The Department of and Constitutional Development welcomes the suspension of a teacher and lecturer accused of discriminating against a learner and student at Ndala High School and eThekwini Coastal College in KwaZulu-Natal respectively, on the basis of their sexual orientation. The Department condemns in strongest terms the alleged behaviour of these individuals. It further calls on the relevant authorities to speed up the investigations into these two incidents and to act decisively to root out the scourge of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In the one incident, student  Bheka Khanyile from eThekwini Coastal College was barred from attending classes, allegedly because of his “satanic gayness”, “spreading the devil’s work” and for refusing to wear male clothes. In the second incident, at Ndala High School, female learner Nokwazi Shelembe was expelled from school for refusing to wear a skirt.

The harassment, victimisation and discrimination of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation cannot be tolerated in a democratic South Africa. All South Africans are urged to respect basic human rights as enshrined in the Constitution. The Department remains committed to fight all forms of sexual and gender based violence and encourages all the victims to report these crimes to police.

Furthermore the Department continues to facilitate an open, constructive and informed dialogue on discrimination and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Our relationship with civil society organisations in this area continues to grow as we work together as members of the National Task Team established to root out discrimination against LGBTI persons.

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development          

Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services