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Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (‘the Bill’) was approved for public consultation by Cabinet on 19 October 2016.  The Bill intends to right the wrongs of social intolerances through retributory justice, such that the rights of all South Africans are protected, and enjoyed on an equal level.  Without such fairness, and where the rights of personal freedoms such as those which are enshrined in the Constitution are not adequately protected, the democracy and the sustainably of a nation cannot thrive.

The Bill has caused much debate in South Africa, and whilst there is no doubt that racial hatred and related hate speech must be arrested, many critics of the Bill believe it goes well beyond the limitations of the rights clause found in

Section 36 of the Constitution.  It is believed that combatting hate speech and promoting the right of dignity must also be balanced with the right to freedom of expression, which is contained in Section 16 of the Constitution.

The Bill seeks to protect all parties that are vulnerable to targeted crimes which are related to their race, sexual orientation or gender, national origin, occupation and disability through the following actions:

  • policing and prosecuting hate crime and hate speech offenses,
  • monitoring and reporting offenses with a hateful motive and,
  • creating holistic preventative programmes across government departments to sensitise public sector employees in their efforts to prevent and combat these crimes.

 

Besides the constitutionality of the Bill being challenged, there are also concerns regarding the ‘broadness’ of what the Bill constitutes as ‘hate speech’ and how it can be inflicted on another. Essentially the Bill provides two components that it defines as hate speech, namely:

  • the communication itself and where it advocates hatred or where it is threatening, abusive or insulting and,
  • the intention that lies behind the communication and where it clearly incites harm to a person or group of persons.

For a crime of hate speech to be initiated for prosecution, both these components must be present.

CGF’s report, Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (Part Two) enjoys the peer reviews of Osborne Molatudi (Partner: Hogan Lovells) and Robert Davies (Lead Independent Consultant: CGF Research Institute) and covers:

  • Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill
  • Introduction
  • Offences
  • Sanctions
  • Critics
  • Organisational impact
  • Mitigating the risks
  • Further contacts used within this presentation, acronyms, references & additional reading

Source: CGF Research Institute

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