South Africa’s President is facing questions around his public support for world leaders who enforce legislation that legalises the hanging of homosexuals.

President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted about his warm and friendly conversations with two controversial world leaders who have been widely criticised for their anti-LGBT+ views,  human rights abuses, and repressive leadership.

“Earlier today I had a most wonderful conversation with His Excellency President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Like many countries across the world, the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on #Iran and has caused serious damage to their economy,” Ramaphosa tweeted.


While many political commentators in South Africa say that Ramaphosa’s concerns about the humanitarian issues of the people of Iran due to the coronavirus and sanctions is admirable, they questioned his warm tone towards the leader of a nation who opposes free speech, killing protestors, and enforces laws that make homosexuality illegal and punishable by death.  

“Iranian law vaguely defines what constitutes acts against morality, and authorities have long censored art, music, and other forms of cultural expression, as well as prosecuted hundreds of people for such acts,” explained Human Rights Watch. “These laws often disproportionally target women and sexual minorities.”

Additionally to his warm tweet about his call with the Iranian leader, Ramaphosa also boasted about another call with the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

“I had a call with my Brother, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela yesterday. Our two countries share a close and deep historical bond based on friendship, solidarity and cooperation.”

Maduro who has been described as a dictator and made headlines after calling opposition members and opponents “big faggots,” has also been accused of crimes against humanity and human rights abuses including allowing extrajudicial killings of poor people.

Human Rights Watch also notes that “The massive exodus of Venezuelans fleeing repression and shortages represents the largest migration crisis of its kind in recent Latin American history.”