OUT alarmed by Equality Court ignorance in Steve Hofmeyr case

On Friday 3 June, OUT LGBT Well-being’s Human Rights Coordinator, Sibonelo Ncanana Trower, accompanied SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) officials to institute Equality Court litigation proceedings against Steve Hofmeyr at the Gqeberha High Court. OUT is one of the complainants against Hofmeyr.

Disturbingly, the clerk of the court initially refused to accept the matter as she was not aware that the High Court can serve as an Equality Court. It was only on the repeated insistence of the commissioner that the complaint was finally registered. (Under the Equality Act, all High Courts are also Equality Courts for their area of jurisdiction.)

“It is very clear that accessing justice is still very difficult. It was shocking that a High Court doesn’t know that they are an Equality Court. And even after we had to explain the law to the clerk, the clerk still gave us attitude and didn’t want to take our case and wanted us to convince them that this case needs to come to them,” said Trower.

“I felt that this must be a reality to an everyday person when they’re trying to access justice, especially the Equality Court. As we know, Equality Courts are underused. And today was a perfect example of why the Equality Courts are underused because of the lack of training or the lack of care to people who work for the courts.”

In two social media videos posted in April 2022, Hofmeyr claimed that the LGBTIQ+ community and Disney aim to “groom” children into illegal and reprehensible activities, such as bestiality, by making Disney content more inclusive and representative. He also falsely asserted that the “+” in the LGBTIQ+ acronym encompasses individuals who practice bestiality.

The SAHRC is demanding that Hofmeyr issue a public apology, pay R500,000 to an LGBTIQ+ organisation, and commit to some form of community service. A petition started by OUT has been signed by over 2,500 people.