Stop attacks on gays and lesbians, a member of Johanesburg Mayoral’s committee has pleaded in an HIV meeting.
Clr Nonceba Molwele said this week, that the message of bigorty has no place in South Africa.
Ms Molwele, who is a Johannesburg member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, was speaking during a dialogue on HIV-Aids for the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community at Constitution Hill on Tuesday.
She called on all South Africans to respect the human rights of gays and lesbians and remember those who had been murdered or raped because of their sexual orientation.
This dialogue was held in response to specific sexual health risks facing members of the LGBTI community in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts.
Through its 2040 Growth and Development Strategy, the city of Joburg strives to reach out to the LGBTI community with HIV-Aids prevention messages. The sector is part of the Johannesburg Aids Council, which ensures that peer mobilisation and education take place.
MMC Molwele said despite the challenges facing the LGBTI community, it was heartening that South Africa had the one of the most advanced and progressive constitutions in the world.
Section 9, Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights, in particular, guaranteed the right to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination and prohibited discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth, she said.
“One of the things the city seeks to achieve by 2040 is the improvement of the quality of life of its people. To achieve this, we as the city have to make sure that our public health facilities are accessible to everyone, including the LGBTI community.”
She pointed out that the teaching of the values and tenets of the constitution could not be left to the education sector only, but that churches, political parties, non-governmental organisations, societies and stokvels should also join in and lend a hand.
“Together we can achieve more. Let us go back to basics as we did in the struggle against apartheid with its powerful machinery. Let’s us mobilise our friends, neighbours and colleagues and unite against ignorance of the Bill of Rights.”
John Meletse of the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, who is both deaf and HIV-positive, expressed concern about the lack of communication regarding HIV-Aids and disability.
Meletse said people living with disabilities were ignored because the emphasis was always on their able-bodied counterparts.
Dr Thulani Mhlongo of the Johannesburg Aids Council said there was an urgent need to eradicate hate crime and hate speech directed at the LGBTI community. He said it was imperative that the LGBTI community form an alliance with other human rights groups to achieve their goals.
He emphasised that programmes should also focus on education on sexual orientation.