Call to release God’s blessing over SA for 21 days to mark end of ‘desolation’

Intercessors in Cape Town have called on Christians in all nine provinces of South Africa to join in 21 days of releasing God’s voice over South Africa through sounding the shofar, prayer and fasting from June 12 to July 2.

The campaign, to mark the ending of 70 years of desolation since apartheid was instituted, is inspired by Daniel’s 21 days of fasting and repentance (Daniel 9:2) at the end of Israel’s time of desolation and captivity in Babylon, says Regina Kekana in the audio clip (2 mins 47 secs) below.

Families, prayer groups, communities, churches, organisations, schools, etc. throughout South Africa are invited to take part in the campaign, following the strategy outlined below:
1. Choose to fast for 21 days or a couple of days. Wait on the Lord to speak to you/instruct you and obey! Watch for the results!
2. Gather in groups (minimum two people) daily at 6pm and blow your Shofars to release God’s voice!
3. Ask the Spirit of God to reveal to you how to blow the shofar and to give you revelation of what His voice is releasing through the shofar sound!
4. Blow the shofar four times in four directions, starting with the East, West, South and North at 6pm daily until we see results yielding fruit!
5. Release God’s voice (Psalm 29) of blessing over South Africa for reconciliation, restoration and for God’s glory to manifest!
6. Alignment of South Africa to God’s blessings and a reversal of the cycles and strongholds of curses through idolatry, bloodshed, sexual immorality, perversion, violence and disinheritance.
7. A restoration of identity for all people groups and inheritance.
8. Entering a season of healing for the nation while celebrating 70 years of deliverance from the time apartheid was instituted.
9. It’s time for South Africa to step into God’s governance and economic system! Upcoming elections!
10. A release of God’s blessing for the nation through the land.

More information is available from Nomvuyo at +27 73 444 3900.

Watch video of a Cape Town intercessor blowing a shofar at the start of the fast:

 

 




Nelson Mandela Bay municipality budget passing ‘an answer to prayer’

Senior ANC politicians and Nelson Mandela Bay Church leaders at a meeting on Monday to discuss challenges facing the city. They are, from left, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Litho Suka (ANC chief whip) Dr Bukelwa Hans (SACC), Bicks Ndoni (Chairperson of ANC), Rory Spence and Neville Goldman. (PHOTO: TCN)

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality finally passed its 2018/19 budget today at a fourth special council sitting, in a breakthrough which metro Christian leaders view as an answer to prayer.

The Church, which was concerned that the budget impasse would result in people suffering by bringing service delivery to a halt, had “tried its hardest” to intervene in the crisis, said Rev Rory Spence, a member of a church leaders’ task team which met with senior ANC politicians on Monday to urge them to support the budget for the good of the city.

While the ANC did not ultimately support the budget — boycotting today’s council meeting, together with the EFF — prayer leaders who have been hard at work mobilising urgent prayer into the situation were delighted with today’s breakthrough which was made possible when the African Independent Congress’s voted with the DA-led alliance in support of the budget and UF councillor Mkuseli Mtsila attended the meeting, making up the required quorum, even though he did not support the budget.

“I am very excited and pleased at this answer to prayer because needy people in a number of wards were facing much loss if the situation was not resolved,” said Transformation Christian Network prayer coordinator Joan Keeling.

Fervent prayer
She said intercessors and Christian groups in the city who were asked to “pray fervently, without slackening, until the battle was won” had really caught the vision of the urgent need for prayer. Prayer warriors had sent her messages of thanks to God after the news of today’s successful vote.

Keeling also said that Fred van der Westhuizen, Port Elizabeth representative of OM, who serves as a chaplain to the municipality, had played a key role in alerting church leaders to the seriousness of the stalled budget vote. Van der Westhuizen could not be contacted for comment at the time of posting this report.

It has been widely reported that the NMB Municipality faced being placed under administration and the council dissolved if it could not pass its budget by the end of the month.

The ANC and EFF have opposed the budget because they maintain it is not pro-poor. ANC councillor Rory Riordan has estimated that only 40% to 45% of the budget was being spent on addressing the needs of the poor, as opposed to the over 90% claimed by the DA, reports News 24.

In a telephone interview with Gateway News today, Rory Spence said the church task team that met with the ANC leaders on Monday, had acknowledged the party leaders right to fight for their constituents but had urged them to support the budget for the good of the city.

After today’s special council meeting Mayor Athol Trollip thanked the two councillors, Mtsila and Buyeye, for attending the meeting, reports Herald Live.

“We have put the people of the city first and without cooperation of Buyeye and Mtsila, who was at his post on time to make the meeting quorate, even though he opposed the budget for his reasons given.

“That is fine we don’t always have to agree with each other in politics, but you need to be at work, if you are serious about service delivery,” Trollip said.

“We are elated that we can get on with the business of putting the people first.”

Council will reconvene next Wednesday to discuss other critical items on the agenda.




‘Roar’ for unity at PE worship album launch on Saturday

Aslan is about to roar over the city of Port Elizabeth this weekend as Roar Worship prepares for the official release of their debut album.

Musicians from 12 churches have come together to release “a unified sound that carries authority to shift atmospheres and shake nations”. The album launch will take place at the Storehouse Church on Vitry Avenue in Lorraine on Saturday June 16, starting at 7pm.

The event will also feature guest speaker, Hayley Braun, from Bethel Church in Redding, California.

Burn 24-7 roots
Roar emerged from the Burn 24-7 worship movement, specifically its vision to unite cities across the globe (currently over 150 cities are involved in advancing Burn 24-7 worship).

The Roar group of musicians is not exclusive or fixed, and the expression of worship one can expect on Saturday night is representative of the many different churches that have collaborated to make Roar what it is. From the musicians to the organising team to the multimedia experts who’ve produced the music videos, the graphic designers who’ve helped with the marketing media and the sound engineers who’ve produced the album itself — Roar is an expression of unity.

Citywide relationships
Some of the relationships that make up Roar are over a decade in the making and connect worshippers in churches across the city of Port Elizabeth. Roar leader, Alison Gooch, was originally affiliated with Transformation Christian Network. Her music training and worship leading experience, coupled with her husband, Peter Gooch’s involvement in citywide worship nights as the regional leader for Burn 24-7, have led to the birth of Roar Worship.

“Birthing is an exciting time,” says Burn 24-7 leader, Peter Gooch. “There are so many unknowns, there’s risk, there’s expectation – and what God grows, brings Him glory.” Roar is also a significant venture as it relates to the fraught cultural and racial realities of our city.

“It is the hope and prayer of those who will make up the Roar Worship team that will be on stage on Saturday, as well as those worshippers across the city who are supporting Roar, that this multi-cultural, Christ-centred expression of worship would make major inroads towards seeing a unified Port Elizabeth worshipping their King.

Heart for unity
“Unity comes at a cost,” Gooch does well to remind us. “We have one Father, but we are different sons, so true unity is a continual choice; it comes from a genuine desire to be reconciled to each other. As the Body of Christ, what choice will we make?” Gooch shared that it has not always been an easy road for such a diverse and dynamic team to gather and practice. Yet the heart for unity has endured, and seeing the official album launch realised has in many ways been to see that heart beat in rhythm with Jesus’. The Bible tells us that Christ will return for one Bride, and Roar is a reflection of that oneness.

Catch the launch on live streaming
Ticket sales for the Roar Worship Album Launch are open and the public is encouraged to buy tickets online for R50 each at roarworship.nutickets.co.za so as to avoid disappointment. The event will also be streaming live on Facebook via the Roar Worship Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/roarworship/.




Giant cross shines love of Christ over busy Pretoria highway

Hezekiel Mkhwanazi, leader of Rainbow Gospel Ministries, signs the City Love Pledge at the Capital City Dedication on Friday.

The 18m, illuminated cross boldly shines the love of Christ over the N1 in Tshwane.

The executive capital of South Africa was dedicated to Jesus at a moving ceremony at the foot of a newly-erected, 18m-high, illuminated cross overlooking the busy N1 highway south of Pretoria on Friday.

The cross which was donated to the city of Tshwane by generous benefactors, was erected on a hill close to the Botha Avenue off-ramp on Afrimat property adjacent to the Lyttelton dolomite quarry.

Leaders from several ministries and churches united around the cross early of Friday to participate in the City Capital Dedication, where they took a City of Love Pledge, declaring their support for building a city founded on brotherly love and unity and through through the love of God.

The pledge is based on Psalm 133 which  states: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell in unity!

“The N1 is one of the main arteries of the city, leading people in and out of the city. We declare this cross to be a sign of hope for those who drive on this road — especially those whose hearts are overcome with hopelessness. We want them to see the cross, so that their hope could be restored,” said Warren Brosnihan, a former Sprinbok player who led the ceremony.

The Captial City Dedication is displayed on the stone base of the cross.

“We want people to treat each other with compassion, kindness and empathy – spreading the true Gospel message of love and unity in Christ.”

Declaring there is a massive movement of change in the nation, he said:“The people of our country have had enough, and we want to come together in unity and stand for an honourable cause.”

New beginnings
Carolle Watson, leader of Carrolle’s Call, led the crowd in in a prophetic prayer over the city, saying:”We are taking territory back from the enemy for the Kingdom of God, not only for the city but also for the nation. We are entering a season of new beginnings and we will win souls!

“We shall become vessels of honour. Pretoria will become a fruitful city and we will forget the toils of the past.”

Daryl Hardy, one of the Pretoria benefactors and the visionary behind the cross project, said “The cross will serve as a visible testimony of the love of Jesus,”

“It was truly a group effort; thank you all who took part in this project. The cross belongs to the citizens of Pretoria and I hope that everyone who looks upon it will see the grace of God, the works of Jesus that have been completed for us all on the cross.”

Councillor Gert Visser, who attended the event on behalf of the mayor of the Tshwane metro, Solly Msimanga, said: “It is truly an incredible day and I am so grateful to be part of it. This is a worthy cause, that the city dwellers can be part of.”

Visser was the first person to sign the City of Love pledge — on behalf of the metro council.

Louis Loubser, managing director of Afrimat, said the company had decided to erect two poles on the property, respectively flying the company flag and the South African flag.

“Flags remind us of where we come from, but also help us to reflect on where we are going. When Daryl approached me with his vision of erecting a cross here, I couldn’t think of a better idea on how to honour God and bring hope back to the citizens of our city.”

The dedication event ended with a worship song and celebration and prayer under the cross.




Religious exemption clause in Hate Speech bill ‘will only protect sermons’

At Parliament on May 30 2018, Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) attended a briefing by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice regarding the proposed Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (“the Bill”).

This briefing followed certain amendments made to the original draft of the Bill by the DoJ, in response to the almost 76 000 submissions received from the public (including a large number of religious organisations). These amendments include a “religious exemption” clause (in s 3(2)(d of the Bill) which would exclude from the definition of hate speech – “the bona fide interpretation and proselytising or espousing of any religious tenet, belief, teaching, doctrine or writings, to the extent that such interpretation and proselytization does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm, based on one or more of the grounds referred to in subsection (1)(a).”

FOR SA — together with other religious organisations — worked very hard to ensure the inclusion of such an exemption clause in the Bill, even meeting with the Deputy Minister of Justice in person and facilitating a meeting between him and religious leaders to discuss our concerns.

However, at the Parliamentary briefing we were surprised to learn that the exemption, according to the Deputy Minister, would only apply to sermons and not to statements made by individuals.

Fortunately, this concern was picked up on by ACDP MP Steve Swart, who immediately challenged the Deputy Minister’s statement as a “major concern” that would preclude individuals, including for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses, from sharing their faith with others.

The suggestion that the religious exemption clause would only apply to sermons (and not to individual speech) is simply astounding! On the plain wording of the religious exemption clause, there is no room for such distinction or limitation.

Moreover, section 15 of the Constitution (guaranteeing the right to freedom of religion, including religious speech) belongs to everyone, everywhere in the Republic. It therefore belongs as much to the pastor in the pulpit as it does to the person who shares his religious convictions and beliefs on the street, in the workplace or in any other setting or forum.

To limit the application of the religious exemption clause to sermons, implies that the conscience, convictions and beliefs of individual believers are somehow less sacred and worthy of protection than their pastors’. This clearly is not supported by either the Constitution or the case law.

As an organisation, FOR SA agrees that no one (whether a pastor, or an individual believer) in whatever setting (whether in the pulpit, or elsewhere) should be allowed to make statements that advocate hatred and incite violence. We strongly condemn any such instances of hate speech — whether against another religion, members of the LGBT community, or any other group of persons.

However, the definition of hate speech in the Bill has already been stretched far beyond that written in the Constitution, which was deliberately limited so that freedom of speech and expression would be largely unhindered.

By contrast, the definition in the current Bill includes speech that anyone could potentially find offensive — even if it is not directed at them. To then single out speech from the pulpit for protection, yet leave all other religious speech in other settings exposed, is a double blow to a fundamental human right.

This is particularly true because, around the world, hate speech laws are increasingly used against Christians for simply professing the Bible and expressing their sincere religious convictions and beliefs (including Christian street preachers, Christians in the marketplace, etc.).

Call to action
It is clear that, despite the promises and assurances made to the religious community, the threat to religious freedom remains. FOR SA will continue to engage with the Department of Justice, the Justice Portfolio Committee and other stakeholders in this regard.

However, it is extremely important when the revised Bill is published for comment, that believers and religious organisations (again) make comments on this revised Bill. In this regard, FOR SA will shortly publish our comments on the revised Bill, as well as a pro forma submission, on our website (www.forsa.org.za).

Please keep an eye on our website and our Facebook page (@Freedom of Religion SA) for details regarding the publication of the revised Bill for comment, the deadline for comment etc. Although, at this stage, it is not yet clear when the Bill will be published for comment, or what the deadline for comment will be, we anticipate that this phase of the process will kick off in the very near future!

As an organisation, FOR SA is reliant on donations for our work to protect and promote religious freedom in SA. Your donation can help us do this! To make a once-off or regular donation, please visit http://forsa.org.za/donate/




Words of hope for SA by Judge Mogoeng inspired by message from Angus Buchan

Chief Justie Mogoeng Mogoeng, left, speaking at a cattle auction in Lichtenburg. (WATCH VIDEO CLIP AT BOTTOM OF PAGE).

South Africa is on the verge of a great breakthrough and Christians who know their God can be like Daniels and Joseph’s, coming up with God-inspired solutions to the nation’s greatest challenges, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said at a cattle auction in Lichtenburg on Friday.

Urging Christians not to give up “in these trying times” but to take trouble to know God who is ready to release godly answers to the land issue, crime, corruption, governance or any other concern, Mogoeng said his short talk to the farmers was inspired by a Scripture in a personal message he had received the previous day, from another farmer — Angus Buchan.

Mogoeng, who was also a buyer at the auction at Loriza Brahman, said he was asked by the owners to deliver a 5-minute, godly talk at the event. While he was seeking the Lord on what to say, he was reminded of the message from Buchan.

He read out Buchan’s message, which the farmer-evangelist had sent him in response to a call to God to raise leaders of integrity, which Mogoeng had made at a recent prayer event in parliament. The message reads: “My dear Chief Justice Sir, a very warm greeting to you this morning. I’ve just listened to your most passionate and godly prayer. I want to say I am so honoured to know you as my brother in Christ Jesus. Please be aware of my constant prayer cover over you and your godly wife and family. Much love in Jesus Christ, your brother, Angus Buchan.”

Great exploits
Mogoeng then read the excerpt from Daniel 11:32, which Buchan quotes at the bottom of his message: “… but those who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.”

Mogoeng said the relevant message from the book of Daniel could not have been delivered by a more suitable person, as Buchan, with whom he had prayed at the It’s Time prayer day at Mitchell’s Plain in March, cared deeply for all the people of South Africa.

Drawing from the Scripture and the broader book of Daniel, the chief justice said Daniel was a man of wisdom and light who had a supernatural capacity to explain mysteries and who, even in captivity in Babylon, rose to be a top leader in that nation.

Daniel had made it his business to fast and pray for 21 days for his nation to be freed from bondage.

“It tells us it’s about time you and I prayed for South Africa, prayed for Africa, so that the rapes, the murders of everybody — including farmers, the corruption, that is ravaging our country, can be a thing of the past, so that South Africa can demonstrate to the world that it is capable of being a country where black and white people live in peace with no hostility, with no crime, where there is no corruption whatsover, but unprecedented prosperity,” he said.

Daniel had also been called to relate and interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream after all the magicians of Babylon had failed to do so.

Divine revelation
“But because he knew his God as you and I ought to know our God, he prayed unto to Him to reveal the secret to him. God told him the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the meaning of it,” said Mogoeng.

Likewise when the king’s son and successor, Belshazzar and the magicians he had consulted, did not know the meaning of the writing on the wall, Daniel had interpreted it through God-given wisdom.

Daniel was not hungry for power and was not afraid to speak truth to power, confronting both Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar with their pride and God’s judgments on them.

“South Africans, all the problems you think are impossible, to resolve, don’t go outside of the country for a solution. You and I, the Daniels that are here, if only we were to make it our business to know our God — mayors, premiers, presidents [would be raised], who will not steal anything from anybody, who will make it their business that there is police visibility, so that we don’t get ravaged by crime, who will make it their business to ensure that education if of a higher quality, skills needed for sustainable economic growth, are available in this country and through us Africa is impacted positively. If only we were to make it our business to know God, those capacities would be transferred to us,” he said.

“God loves us. Let us know Him. As we know Him He will deposit His wisdom upon us. The land issue, you would have nothing to be worried about because a godly solution would be released. A godly solution will be released about crime, a godly solution will be released about corruption, governance or any other concern you may have.”

Mogoeng shared how in recent encounters with believers in Cape Town and the United States, God had revealed to Christians what he was going to do in South Africa.

“We are on the verge of a great breakthrough — don’t give up. We all belong here. If Daniel could prosper on foreign land and we are all South Africans, what reason do we have to be worried? And the same applies to all Africa,” he said.

Unity, hope and healing
In his closing prayer he asked for a powerful message of unity, hope and healing to spread through the nation.

Responding to Mogoeng’s talk at the auction, Buchan thanked God “for our Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogoeng, who is man who is unashamedly standing for truth and righteousness and the name of our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

 




Zanele Hlatshawayo runs to fight depression and save lives

Zanele Hlatshwayo, ultra runner and founder of the #Rise18 campaign to raise funds to support the fight against depression and suicide.

While she runs, she feels free, she feels safe — she is loved, says Zanele Hlatshwayo.

“I literally feel God take my hand when I’m running and He is with me until I cross the finish line,” says the ultra-marathon runner and campaigner for people who suffer from mental illness — especially depression.

She took on the challenge to run 18 races between January and July this year, in a campaign called #Rise18 in partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

Hlatshawayo has two more big races coming up – the Comrades Marathon on June 10, which is 90 km and the Washie 100 race of 161 km, which is held in the Eastern Cape over July 27-28.

“As daunting as it is, I know God is with me. My motto this year has been For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

For Hlatshawayo the fight against depression hits home. She was deeply depressed after the loss of her father, a man who she calls her hero, who committed suicide

Finding a cause
Depression is a silent killer – in South Africa 23 people commit suicide daily — mostly men with teen suicide on the rise. It is statistics such as these that inspire Hlatshawayo to take the next step and make a difference.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about depression and suicide. The aim is to drive some form of change and for people to realise that suffering from mental illness is not a sign of weakness. We need to love and support those people who may suffer from it. It may be just the only thing that could save their lives, literally.”

Her saving grace
For Hlatshawayo the goal of the project is not only to raise money for the cause — she wants to share her struggle with others to create awareness on how to overcome it.

After her father’s suicide Hlatshawayo cried almost daily but eventually she got tired of crying. It was then that she knew she needed to do something to overcome this.

“So one day I decided to go for a run. At first I was running away from all the pain, anguish and the bitterness of it all but soon, I started to realise running made the whole ordeal bearable and most importantly made me feel stronger,” she says.

“Running was and is my sacred space where I get to make decisions about my life. There are no interruptions just me and my thoughts.”

The struggle is real
After her father’s death Hlatshwayo struggled with her anger towards God.

“I couldn’t pray and wondered where God was on that fateful day when my father took his life, or even worse, was He there but did nothing?”

During these difficult times her grandmother heard her cry in the evenings, and she comforted her by praying for her, when she couldn’t.”

Hlatshwayo finally started praying for herself again.

“I asked God to help me forgive myself and to forgive my father, and grant me the wisdom to accept what had happened.”

Then God spoke to her. “God wanted me to share my story. He told me it would not be easy but that because of this, lives would be saved. I believe by being obedient to God I have stepped into my purpose.

“Through my pain I have found that my purpose is to save as many lives as possible.”

Through this journey Hlatshwayo came to realise that God is love.

“Even in the midst of darkness God is love and He understands our tears, even when no one else is there. This year I have seen the hand of the Lord work miracles through #Rise18. At the beginning I was scared. How could God trust me while I still suffered and how do I muster the courage?

“But God carried me through it all despite everything. Even after I have suffered injuries because of the running, I know God will see me through. It is a journey I have to complete!”

To support #Rise18 go to www.backabuddy.co.za/rise18 or join Hlatshwayo’s cause by following her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram




WATCH VIDEO: ‘Pray and fast for supernatural solution to land question’

God really wants to move on the leaders of South Africa in what is a pivotal moment during which the land question could be settled very peacefully, says SA Back to God’s Janet Brann-Hollis in a video [See below] —  promoting SABTG’s June fast.

She calls on Christians to pray for God to give leaders the wisdom of Solomon so that He can solve the land issue supernaturally.

Other prayer topics in SABTG’s June fast are cities, racism and the judiciary. Every month SABTG calls on believers in SA to unite in prayer and fasting on the first Wednesday of the month. Prayer pointers for next Wednesday’s fast can be found here.




Bougardt judgment indicates likely legal limit of religious speech

Pastor Oscar Bougardt (PHOTO: IOL )

Pastor gets prison sentence for offensive remarks towards gays

On Friday, 18 May 2018 Pastor Oscar Bougardt – who found himself in trouble with the law again after making certain “highly insulting, demeaning and uncharitable” statements regarding the LGBT community – was convicted of contempt of court and sentenced to 30 days in prison.

The Cape High Court (sitting as an Equality Court) suspended the sentence for five years, on condition that he does not again make such statements during that period.

In his judgment, Judge Bozalek observed that while Bougardt has a right to freedom of speech and to his religious beliefs and to express these, none of the particular statements made by him fell within those parameters. In short, “they dehumanise and demonise gay and lesbian persons and, without a shred of proof, make wide and damaging assertions that members of such community engage in criminal and anti-social conduct”.

The Constitution protects freedom of speech, and freedom of religion (including religious speech), as fundamental human rights. In particular, it is important to mention that in the Constitutional Court case of National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality v Minister of Justice (1998), Judge Albie Sachs observed that “those persons who for reasons of religious belief disagree with or condemn homosexual conduct, are free to hold and articulate such beliefs”.

While (religious) persons therefore have a right to believe and express their views on homosexuality (for example), they nevertheless must do so within the boundaries of the law i.e. in a manner that does not amount to “hate speech”.

While there is currently inconsistency in South African law with regards to the definition and elements which constitute “hate speech” (and the definition of “hate speech” in the Equality Act is being challenged in the Qwelane case before the Supreme Court of Appeal, as being inconsistent with its definition in the Constitution), the Bougardt judgment does give some indication of the boundaries of (religious) speech.

Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) strongly encourages all ministers (and indeed, all persons of faith) to take note of the Bougardt judgment, which is a good example of what (content, and manner of speech) will probably not be regarded by our courts as acceptable speech. While we can never compromise on Biblical truth, it is important that, as Christians, we always strive to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ in a manner that is both loving and true, and in so doing bring glory to God.

FOR SA has worked with a broad cross section of the faith community to lobby for an amendment to the proposed Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, so as to give specific protection to bona fide religious preaching and teaching which does not amount to an advocacy of hatred with an incitement to violence. This defence is not contained in the “hate speech” section of the Equality Act — hence FOR SA’s submission and recommendation that the definition of “hate speech” in the Hate Speech Bill should replace all other definitions of hate speech contained in other existing or proposed legislation in order to bring more legal certainty to this area.

Background facts
In October 2013, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) opened a case against Bougardt in the Cape High Court (sitting as an Equality Court), complaining that Bougardt had sent unsolicited emails in which he made denigrating and offensive remarks regarding gay and lesbian people, as well as making similar remarks on Facebook.

This, the SAHRC alleged, infringed the prohibition on “hate speech” in s 10 of the Equality Act (which prohibits any speech “based on one or more of the prohibited grounds [including sexual orientation] that could reasonably be construed to be hurtful; be harmful or incite harm; or promote or propagate hatred”).

In terms of a settlement agreement between the SAHRC and Bougardt on July 28 2014 (which Bougardt expressly agreed could be made an Order of Court):
a) Bougardt admitted that he has not carefully thought through his statements and properly taken account of the fundamental right of others, in particular the right not to be discriminated against;
b) Bougardt stated that he understood that these statements, in circumstances where gay and lesbian persons have historically suffered and continue to suffer marginalisation, discrimination and persecution, are likely to encourage hatred and cause emotional, psychological and physical harm in members of this community;
c) Bougardt undertook not to make such statements in the future. In particular, he would not make statements in which he:
a. blamed gay and lesbian people for social problems or disease;
b. advocated hatred towards them, their removal from communities or institutions, or any harmful behaviour towards them.
d) Bougardt undertook not to make statements that go beyond what the Bible says in respect of these matters or in a manner that will incite hatred and harmful behaviour towards gay and lesbians.

Following this settlement agreement, Bougardt allegedly made further offensive statements regarding gay and lesbian people, including:
a) In an article on News24, Bougardt was quoted as saying regarding homosexual people: “Why should we be tolerant of their criminal lifestyle? Ninety-nine percent of paedophiles stem from homosexuality”; and “I’m saying so because it is proven that 99% of the paedophiles have a homosexual background. They are blaming their previous lifestyle on what happened. Go and read up on it.”

b) In an article on MambaOnline, Bougardt essentially commended the President of Nigeria (where, in certain states, homosexuality is punished by death by stoning) for his stance against homosexuality. He said, amongst other things, that “if I was a president of my country, I will lock them in cages where they belong. They behave worst (sic) than animals in bed, and don’t even deserve a prison cell with prisoners. They belong in a cage …”

c) In another article on MambaOnline, Bougardt commented on a Senegalese journalist who had been jailed for six months on homosexuality charges, and said that “six months are too short for animal like behaviour. We need more countries that are bold enough to take a stance against perverts.”

d) In another article on MambaOnline, he said “we need ISIS to come to countries who are homosexual friendly. ISIS please come rid South Africa of homosexual curse.”

As a result of these (further) statements, the SAHRC opened up a case of contempt of court against Bougardt, for breaching the earlier settlement agreement that had been made an order of Court. In their papers, the SAHRC asked the Court to sentence Bougardt to a R500 000 fine, as well as commit him to prison for thirty (30) days.
In the contempt of court proceedings, Bougardt effectively admitted to all of the above statements, but denied encouraging violence against homosexuals and relied on his s 15 right to freely express his “religious beliefs and opinions”.

Contempt of court proceedings
A person can only be found guilty of contempt of court, if it is clear – beyond reasonable doubt – that there was a court order (which there was in this case); that the accused knew of the court order (which he did – Bougardt agreed that the order could be made an order of Court); that there was wilful non-compliance with the court order by the accused, who also acted in bad faith.

On the question of non-compliance with the court order, the Court observed that save in one instance (i.e. with regards to the article in News24, which Bougardt alleged misquoted him), Bougardt admitted to making the relevant statements. The only question is thus whether the statements made were “hurtful or incite hatred or harm or propagate hatred” on the grounds of sexual orientation (in terms of the Equality Act). In this regard, the Court – after considering each of the statements made by Bougardt individually – found that his statements were in fact discriminatory against, and did in fact advocate or incite hateful or harmful behaviour towards, the LGBT community.

On the question of wilfulness and mala fides, the Court did not accept Bougardt’s defence that he was not informed that the settlement agreement would be made an order of Court or the consequences of breaching same, as the agreement – which Bougardt signed – expressly says that it can be made an order of Court.

The Court also did not accept Bougardt’s second defence that he believed he was exercising his right to freedom of speech (and, in particular, to air his religious beliefs). In this regard, the Court found that in the original settlement agreement, Bougardt acknowledged that his statements harmed the dignity of gay and lesbian people and were likely to “encourage hatred and cause emotional, psychological and physical harm to members of the community”.

He apologised for making these statements and undertook not to make similar statements in future. Although he reserved his right to “preach the Word of God and what the Bible directs”, he undertook not to make statements going beyond these limits in relation to gay and lesbian persons. Importantly, no attempt was made in the contempt of court proceedings (and the Court observed, “correctly so”) to justify the statements made on biblical or religious grounds.

The Court noted that Bougardt has a right to freedom of speech and to his religious beliefs and to express these, but none of the statements made by him fell within those parameters. In short, “they dehumanise and demonise gay and lesbian persons, and without a shred of proof, make wide and damaging assertions that members of such community engage in criminal and anti-social conduct”.




Prayer, prophecy and politics in SA parliament — Tshego Motaung

From the left, Prophet Emmanuel Kure, Rev Kenneth Meshoe leader of the ACDP, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Mmusi Maimane leader of the DA, Mmaphefo Mogoeng and Linda Gobodo, at a special prayer meeting in parliament’s Good Hope Chamber last Friday. (PHOTO: Tshego Motaung).

Earlier this month I wrote an article asking if God still speaks to modern nations the way He did in the past?

Little did I know that before the month ended I would be in a meeting in parliament where leaders in government, business and civil society movements would be gathered, all eagerly waiting to hear God’s word for the nation.

Confirming that indeed God does still speak to nations, but mostly God is speaking about our own nation, the theme of the meeting was based on Isaiah 66:8 – ...Can a nation be born in a day?…

From the left, Dr Pearl Kupe, Prophet Emmanuel Kure and Graham Power.

The meeting was hosted in the Good Hope Chamber and was convened by Dr Pearl Kupe and Apostle Linda Gobodo, who have risen as mothers in the nation and are leading initiatives aimed at aligning people and nations in Africa with their God-ordained destinies.

Among the government and civil society leaders at the meeting were Rev Kenneth Meshoe of the ACDP; Mmusi Maimane of the DA; Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng; Former Cape Town City Manager and Acting Judge – Land Claims Court, Dr. Wallace Mgoqi ; Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute;  and business leaders such as Wendy Luhabe and Graham Power.

There were also leaders of the Khoi San community, Royalty from Nigeria as well as leaders of different denominations and Christian organisations in the country. This meeting brought together South Africans in all their diversity.

Leaders from various spheres in prayer in the Good Hope Chamber.

The main speaker was Nigerian ministry leader Emmanuel Kure, a respected prophet who God has used to speak to many nations at strategic times of transition. Kure has journeyed with South Africa over the years and shares the burden to see South Africa fulfill her destiny.

Speaking with a deep passion for the nation and clearly understanding South Africa’s crucial role in moving Africa forward, Kure said: “If we lose South Africa, we lose Africa.”

Political party leaders speak
Leaders of political parties were given an opportunity to address the meeting. Rev Meshoe, one of the longest-serving members of parliament expressed gratitude to the conveners and attendees, saying the meeting was an answer to years of prayer. The active participation of Christians in praying for leadership of the nation in parliament marked a new season as it was not so in 1994, he said.

Mmusi Maimane addresses the meeting.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane spoke of the need to urgently address the challenge of having “two nations within the nation”, with some living in abundance, while others were poor. While government could legislate on this matter, Maimane expressed a desire to see those who have an abundance come to a place of repentance like Zacchaeus in the Bible. He was a rich man who had gained some of his riches through extortion and greed. But when salvation came to his house, he repented and gave half of his riches to the poor and committed to restore four times back to those he had cheated. Maimane stressed the need for repentance — a key that would open hearts to share wealth.

He also reminded the gathering that the kind of fast that God required was to break chains of oppression, to share food with the poor and clothe the naked – Isaiah 58:6- 7

Reflections on SA journey since 1994
Justice Mogoeng reflected on South Africa’s journey since the dawn of democracy. He acknowledged that a lot of good has been done, recalling that the ruling party had inherited a bankrupt government with a deficit of more than R250-billion, double-digit inflation and high unemployment. The national debt had to repaid at about R50-billion per annum; money that could have been directed towards development.

Today the budget deficit is about R195-billion, despite reaching surplus levels at one point; while the country faces many challenges, he attributed them to one thing – leadership. The country is in desperate need of competent men and women of integrity in order to move forward, said Mogoeng.

He highlighted the need to tackle corruption, starting in the Church, and to raise a critical mass of people of integrity to influence all spheres of society.

Other issues that need to be addressed urgently included racism, which must be rooted out; crime and securing our borders. The influx of people crossing South Africa’s borders illegally contributed to crime and insecurity in the country and was a big inhibitor to investment and economic growth, he said.

Judge Mogoeng also challenged South Africans to stop outsourcing their thinking capacity, and rather to engage with government on every subject, including international relations.

Word for South Africa
Prophet Kure reminded the meeting of sudden events that have taken place in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, and how these were signs that God was visiting the continent.

In Zimbabwe a military coup took place with no bloodshed – something that has never happened in Africa. South Africa and Ethiopia followed with sudden resignations of President Zuma and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Prophet Emmanuel Kure, right, was the main speaker. In front of him are traditional leaders of the Khoi San community.

While it would be easy to dismiss these events as ordinary political developments, they clearly took people by surprise as none of the three political leaders were keen to be removed. Recent reports by Emmerson Mnangagwa Jnr telling of the miraculous escape of his father, now President Mnangagwa, from attempts on his life in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, confirmed that there had been more to events in that nation than could be attributed to his father’s wisdom.

On South Africa, the prophet said the appointment of President Cyril Ramaphosa was God starting to position His sons to begin the work of redemption – in line with the word …all creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the Sons of God – Romans 8:19. This was the ANC assignment from the beginning, he said, through its lineage of God-fearing men who were founders and leaders of the organisation ( See Remembering OR Tambo: A man after God’s heart for more on the Christian roots of the ANC), but this assignment was somehow lost in the process.

He said he had never understood this until the day Ramaphosa, responding to Meshoe in parliament, confessed their shared history in the Students Christian Movement where he was the president. Kure however gave a stern warning to the president that if he did not resume the work of redemption the land would vomit him up and he would not win the next elections.

Nation’s time of destiny
Kure spoke of the current season of 2018 – 5778 in the Jewish calendar — as a time that opens the nation to a place of destiny, in which those who have been forgotten would be remembered.

God was realigning everything and would use what was perceived as foolish to accomplish his eternal plan. For example, while many would call US president Donald Trump foolish, he explained how he was being used to address issues in God’s heart that world leaders have not had the courage to confront, such as Jerusalem and the killing of Christians by Boko Haram in Nigeria and by others in other parts of the world. He advised believers to pray that God’s agenda be advanced irrespective of their personal sentiments towards leaders.

He concluded by praying for South Africa to focus on the good future that God has prepared for her and to forget her past. He encouraged everyone to give thanks to God for all the processes that have taken place to give birth to South Africa as it is today — the good and the bad – with the understanding that God has never left or forsaken the nation.

“I dream of a united South Africa, where all the voices are collapsed into one South African voice,” he said as he prayed for unity in the nation, but challenged that it must begin with the Church.

This meeting was in many ways a confirmation of a prophetic word for SA released by Cindy Jacobs just a day before. Jacobs tells how God will cause the nation to be reconciled, healed and restored as it returns to God.