South Africa: Justice ministry requests that ‘gay cure centre’ is investigated

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The South African justice ministry has requested that the Human Rights Commission investigate a Chrisian arts centre which operates to attempt to “cure” people of their homosexuality.

Creare Training Centre in Bloemfontein boasts that it seeks to convert gay students into heterosexuals through “rehabilitation”.

According to the rules of the academy, gay students, who were unwilling to change their lifestyle, would not be welcome. Only those seeking to “convert” to heterosexuality are granted entry.

The ministry released a statement today, which said that it was looking to the Human Rights Commission to investigate the centre, reports IOL news.

It read: “We trust the SA Human Rights Commission will be able to use its extensive powers to investigate this matter and to take the necessary and appropriate action,

“The notion that a person’s sexual orientation can be changed at will, or by compulsion, feeds the very same homophobic attitudes that encourage the criminal and abhorrent practice of so-called corrective rape.”

Earlier this week, Dawie Nel, the director of gay rights organisation OUT, said the academy’s stance breached South Africa’s anti-discrimination laws.

The centre’s founder, Cornelis van Heyningen, however, denied that the institution was discriminatory.

“We are catering for those who say ‘I want to change as a homosexual’. That’s not saying no homosexuals are allowed.”

He also compared the academy’s stance on homosexuality to a drug rehabilitation programme.

On Wednesday, a student defended the arts academy and claims that it helped “cure” her of being a lesbian.