Sign outside La Gardi Plastics.
- A store owner in Gqeberha has apparently been threatened after he admitted to putting up a sign outside his store barring members of the LGBTQIA+ community from entering.
- The South African Human Rights Commission called for calm and for the public to be given a chance to complete its investigation.
- On Monday, the owner confirmed that the sign was still hanging outside his shop.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called for calm following alleged threats made by community members against Gqeberha shop owner Dawood LaGuardian.
Lagardien, owner of La Gardi Plastics and Baking Requirements, shocked the LGBTQIA+ community and the public when he put up a sign outside the store in Parkside, barring gays, lesbians, and transgender people from entering his establishment.
Despite claiming last week that he doesn’t hate homosexuals, Lajardin admitted to erecting the sign and said members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not welcome inside his store.
He was also very vocal about his disapproval of this community’s lifestyles.
But although he received threats to close his shop, he did not change his position.
On Monday, Eileen Carter, South Africa’s regional director for human rights, said the committee had noted the threats made against LaGuardian.
The committee also received letters from some political parties threatening to close the shop.
“There were reports that civilians were protecting the shop from potential threats,” she said.
Carter explained that the South African Human Rights Commission had engaged with LaGuardian and tried to reach out to those making threats against the shop.
She requested that the South Sudan Human Rights Commission be given an opportunity to complete its investigation and reach a conclusion.
“Our call is on members of the public just to allow the HRC to step in and give us space to apply our mandate as well as the relevant legislation that might be relevant to this. And then we’ll take it from there.”
Carter added that the commission calls on all parties to respect the country’s laws.
“This is so that we can step in and protect the rights of those who need protection in relation to the mandatory legislation that we have,” she said.
According to Carter, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission will place someone in the store to monitor the situation.
We have our internal processes that we always need to do and it takes a little longer than we want to but we are determined on what we want to do. But if everyone stays calm, we’ll see how best to solve this situation.
Speaking to News24 on Monday morning, LaGuardian said he had received calls and messages from people threatening to shut down his store, and although a political group allegedly planned to do so last Friday, that did not happen.
“I wouldn’t call them threats but there are calls and messages and they are vulgar messages. I can’t even repeat that to you,” he said.
When asked if his stance on the LGQBTIA+ community has changed, he says no.
“I still feel that they are not welcome in my store and that the sign is still up,” LaGuardian said.