Cape Town – A South African Pentecostal pastor was handed a 30-day suspended jail term on Friday for repeatedly making homophobic comments, including a suggestion that gays be locked in cages like animals.
Oscar Bougardt was found guilty by a Cape Town court of making statements that discriminate and incite hatred against homosexuals.
He was also ruled in breach of an earlier court order that barred him in 2014 from verbally attacking homosexuals.
Judge Lee Bozalek sentenced Bougardt to a 30-day jail term, suspended for five years provided he makes no further anti-gay comments.
Bougardt is a pastor at Calvary H.O.P.E Ministries in Cape Town.
In 2016 he described homosexuals as “criminal” and said “99 percent of paedophiles have (a) homosexual background”.
In 2015, he said, “To hell with homosexuals, …their lifestyle is an abomination to God, but Christians in South Africa are too scared to speak out against (it)”.
“If I was the president of my country I would lock them in cages where they belong.They don’t even deserve a prison cell,” according to a transcript of his remarks, read out in court.
The judge said the pastor’s statement “advocates the criminalisation of gay sex, including by implication punishment by death through stoning”.
“Not only do such statements dehumanise gays and lesbian people, they advocate hatred towards them,” Bozalek said.
South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that recognises gay rights and the only one that allows same-sex marriages.
In September 2016, South Africa banned an anti-gay American pastor Steven Anderson from entering the country, after an outcry from rights groups over his characterisation of gays as “sodomites” and “paedophiles”.