2nd March 2018

Following various forms of harassment suffered by the Cronjé family over the last couple of months, the owners of Tameletjie Wedding Venue have decided to state their position clearly in a statement to all concerned persons, to avoid confusion and to fully address the issue regarding the venue’s inability to host same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Tameletjie was started in 2015 by Mr. and Mrs. Cronjé on the family small holding where they live. It is a labour of love for the family, which began with a family celebration when their son got married on their small holding and has since grown into a flourishing young business which, apart from the family, currently employs five people from the local community.

Mr. and Mrs. Cronjé are both Christians and hold a sincere belief in the traditional, biblical view that marriage is something holy, a covenant between a man and a woman before God Himself. They host weddings at Tameletjie as a celebration of this religious conviction and belief.

On 10th January 2018, Mr. Wayne van der Schyff requested an appointment with Mrs. Cronjé to visit and view the venue. Before his arrival for this purpose, Mrs. Cronjé noticed that Mr. van der Schyff’s profile picture on WhatsApp consisted of a photo of himself and his fiancé, Mr. Kobus Smal.  From a desire not to mislead Mr. van der Schyff and to be upfront about her and her family’s convictions, Mrs. Cronjé asked Mr. van der Schyff if he would be having a same-sex wedding.  She then truthfully said that she would unfortunately be unable to assist due to the conflict with the family’s sincerely held religious convictions and beliefs.  This was the sum total of their interactions and, contrary to allegations in the media, no other conversations pertaining to food etc. were ever entered into.

The South African Constitution envisages a society that celebrates diversity of opinion and belief. To this end, everyone is constitutionally entitled to freedom of religion, conscience and belief and is protected in law from unfair treatment or discrimination for holding, and giving practical effect to, their particular belief(s).  Yet this is exactly what has happened to the owners of Tameletjie, who have been vilified in the media and on their social media platforms simply because, in good faith, they were upfront with this couple about their inability (due to their sincerely held religious convictions and beliefs) to assist in this instance.

Mr. and Mrs. Cronjé wish to reiterate that it is not, and never was, their intention to offend anyone, and they sincerely regret any offence that may have been caused.  They respect the freedom of choice of Mr. van der Schyff and Mr. Smal to conclude a same-sex marriage. However, they simply ask that in turn their freedom of choice be respected. They should not be coerced under threat of punishment to participate in something that will violate their conscience before God – potentially with eternal consequences – particularly when there are many other similar wedding venues available who are willing and able to host the couple’s wedding and make it a most special occasion for them.

Issued by:A CRONJÉ - THE OWNERS OF TAMELETJIE For media enquiries, contact:
Mr Michael Swain
Executive Director, Freedom of Religion South
Africa (FOR SA)
Tel: 072 270 1217
E-mail: michael.swain@forsa.org.za