South Africa on Tuesday barred a controversial, anti-gay American pastor from entering the country because of his critical characterization of gays as “sodomites” and “paedophiles”.
According to Malusi Gigaba, the Home Affairs Minister, Steven Anderson, was refused a visa as the constitution prohibits hate speech.
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Anderson, a pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, who in 2009 prayed for US President Barack Obama’s death, had planned a “soul-winning” visit to South Africa at the weekend.
During a press conference in Cape Town, today, Gigaba said:
“Steven Anderson and members or associates of his church are prohibited from entering the Republic of South Africa.”“We have a duty to prevent harm and hatred, in all forms, against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex) as against any other person in a democratic state.”
Americans do not require visas to travel to South Africa, but Gigaba on Tuesday also revoked Anderson’s visa exemption status, AFP reports.
“If we find him at any of our ports of entry, we will detain and deport him,” said Gigaba.
“We don’t want him in this country.”
Reacting to his ban, Anderson said:
“I feel sorry for people who live in South Africa, but thank God we still have a wide open door in Botswana,” he posted on his Facebook page after the decision to refuse him a visa.
Anderson, who has frequently stirred controversy, was said to be responsible for saying “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”, after the deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this year.
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The Holocaust denier also prayed for the death of US President Barack Obama in 2009 over his pro-choice stance on abortion, and called the victims of the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan nightclub in Paris “devil worshipers”.