A South African church leader Mduduzi Shembe is in trouble after he said the country was not receiving rains because of God’s displeasure with gays and lesbians.
The popular leader said gays were responsible for the drought in the KwaZulu-Natal province, where 40000 cattle have died due to the drought.
“Men are now marrying men, and that is why we are currently facing this curse of a hot sun and drought,” Mr Shembe said in Zulu.
The Commission for Gender Equality is investigating the incident while the opposition Democratic Alliance, DA, have said they are “dismayed” at the alleged remarks.
DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said the remarks were “outrageous” and also “inflammatory”.
“In a society that respects and obeys the leader’s orders, it is rather disturbing when a leader makes such remarks. This automatically puts every gay person in danger to be attacked for ‘causing drought’ in the province,” he said.
South Africa’s constitution prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
“The remark smacks all the efforts that have been made to end the discrimination of people according to their sexual orientation,” Mr Mncwango said.
Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre director, Nonhlanhla Mkhize said the negative statements from the religious leader took society backward.
“It seems like these comments were an attempt to galvanise support. We are shocked and appalled by this type of thinking. It is frustrating, because there are many who battle to be accepted if they are gay or lesbian. These comments do not allow one to be themselves amongst their religious denomination,” she said.
Same-sex marriages have been legal in South Africa since the Civil Union Act came into force on 30 November 2006.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW