The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the Equality Court ruling officially declaring the gratuitous display of the old South African flag as hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination. The flag, however, can still be used for artwork, academic research and journalistic purposes. An outright ban is a position we do not support.

The democratic flag must act as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, which the DA is committed to as articulated by our mission of Building One South Africa for All, underpinned by the values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity.

Our democratic flag, which represents all the people of South Africa, espouses the values of Unity in Diversity and we must rally behind this flag, and work towards a shared future.

The apartheid flag forms part of our painful history and should be utilised to educate and inform.  The total ban of the flag from our society would have deprived future generations of the full account of the country’s history – a history that we can never forget nor repeat; therefore the limitation on its use for academic research and journalistic purposes is a critical point of the judgement.

We are mindful that there are those who seek to undermine the reconciliation project by abusing the use of the old South African flag and to retreat back into the laagers of racial and cultural identity. This only seeks to hinder social cohesion and undermines our democratic project.

Countless South Africans still live with the scars and pain they endured under the brutal apartheid regime. As a society, we should strive to engender a sense of reconciliation and unity as symbolised by the new democratic South African flag.

As difficult and complex as it is, the DA will not abandon the 1994 mission of building a country for all who live in it – black and white.

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