Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has asked for your opinion on the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

The Bill aims to provide for the prosecution of persons who commit offences referred to in this Act and provide for appropriate sentences. Although “hate” is not clearly defined in the Bill, ‘‘harm’’ is broadly listed as any emotional, psychological, physical, social or economic harm;

You are invited to support or object to the Bill by providing comment below. Should you be unsure, please read the live comments, media, summary or documents below.   Closing date is midnight 31 January 2019.

137 active citizens in this campaign, so far

Add your comment now.

Do you support the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill? (see summary)
Yes I doNo I do notNot fully

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‘‘harm’ means any emotional, psychological, physical, social or economic harm;

  • Objectives of Act
    • (a)  give effect to the Republic’s obligations regarding prejudice and intolerance as contemplated in international instruments; 
    • (b)  provide for the prosecution of persons who commit offences referred to in this Act and provide for appropriate sentences;
    • (c)  provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech; 
    • (d)  provide for effective enforcement measures; 
    • (e)  provide for the co-ordinated implementation, application and administration of this Act; 
    • (f)  combat the commission of hate crimes and hate speech in a co-ordinated manner; and 
    • (g)  gather and record data on hate crimes and hate speech.

     

Offence of hate speech

(a)Any person who intentionally publishes, propagates or advocates anything or communicates to one or more persons in a manner that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to—

  • (i)  be harmful or to incite harm; or
  • (ii)  promote or propagate hatred

based on one or more of the following grounds:

(aa) age;
(bb) albinism;
(cc) birth;
(dd) colour;
(ee) culture;
(ff) disability;
(gg) ethnic or social origin;
(hh) gender or gender identity;
(ii) HIV status;
(jj) language;
(kk) nationality, migrant or refugee status;
(ll) race;
(mm) religion;
(nn) sex, which includes intersex; or
(oo) sexual orientation,

is guilty of an offence of hate speech.

(b) Any person who intentionally distributes or makes available an electronic communication which that person knows constitutes hate speech as contemplated in paragraph (a), through an electronic communications system which is—

  • (i)  accessible by any member of the public; or
  • (ii)  accessible by, or directed at, a specific person who can be considered to be a victim of hate speech,

is guilty of an offence.

(c) Any person who intentionally, in any manner whatsoever, displays any material or makes available any material which is capable of being communicated and which that person knows constitutes hate speech as contemplated in paragraph (a), which is accessible by, or directed at, a specific person who can be considered to be a victim of hate speech, is guilty of an offence.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply in respect of anything done as contemplated in subsection (1) if it is done in good faith in the course of engagement in—

(a) any bona fide artistic creativity, performance or other form of expression, to the extent that such creativity, performance or expression does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm, based on one or more of the grounds referred to in subsection (1)(a);
(b) any academic or scientific inquiry; fair and accurate reporting or commentary in the public interest or in the publication of any information, commentary, advertisement or notice, in accordance with section 16(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; or
(c) the bona fide interpretation and proselytising or espousing of any religious tenet, belief, teaching, doctrine or writings, to the extent that such interpretation and proselytisation does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm, based on one or more of the grounds referred to in subsection (1)(a).

Offence of hate crime 

A hate crime is an offence recognised under any law, the commission of which by a person is motivated by that person’s prejudice or intolerance towards the victim of the crime in question because of one or more of the following characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim or his or her family member or the victim’s association with, or support for, a group of persons who share the said characteristics: 

  • (a)  age; 
  • (b)  albinism; 30 
  • (c)  birth; 
  • (d)  colour; 
  • (e)  culture; 
  • (f)  disability; 
  • (g)  ethnic or social origin; 35 
  • (h)  gender or gender identity; 
  • (i)  HIV status; 
  • (j)  language; 
  • (k)  nationality, migrant or refugee status; 
  • (l)  occupation or trade; 40 
  • (m)  political affiliation or conviction; 
  • (n)  race; 
  • (o)  religion; 
  • (p)  sex, which includes intersex; or 
  • (q)  sexual orientation. 45

(2) Any person who commits a hate crime is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a sentence as contemplated in section 6(1). 

(3) Any prosecution in terms of this section must be authorised by the Director of Public Prosecutions having jurisdiction or a person delegated thereto by him or her. 

LIVE COMMENT FEED

Displaying newest 5 comments sent.

Angelique
No I do not
To: The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice & Correctional Services

For attention: Mr Vhonani Ramaano Committee Secretary

I refer to the invitation for comments on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill [B9 – 2018] (“the Bill”) published in the Government Gazette No. 41543 of 29 March 2018 and opened for comment on 26 November 2018, and make the following submissions in relation to clauses 1 and 4 (i.e. the proposed criminalisation of “hate speech”) thereof:

I wish to state my objection to the wide definition of “harm” in clause 1, and the creation of the crime of “hate speech”, in clause 4 of the Bill – particularly in light of existing laws that already prohibit “hate speech”.

As a person whose fundamental human right to religious freedom is protected by our Constitution, I am concerned that the Bill violates our constitutional rights as religious persons to express our religious beliefs without fear of punishment or persecution. Increasingly, around the world but also in South Africa, Scriptures (particularly on contentious issues concerning life, sexual orientation, gender, etc) are regarded as “politically incorrect” or “offensive”, allegedly causing emotional and/or psychological harm.

In similar vein, I am concerned that the creation of the crime of “hate speech” for saying something / distributing something which could be construed as “harmful”, will have certain unintended consequences, e.g. the criminalisation of good / well-meaning people who will be prosecuted for saying what they sincerely believe (according to the Scriptures) and sent to jail.

In the circumstances, and as there are already sufficient existing laws dealing with “hate speech”, I recommend that the sections relating to “hate speech” be deleted from the Bill altogether. Alternatively, I recommend that “hate speech” be defined exactly as it is defined in section 16(2) of the Constitution - nothing more, nothing less - to ensure that all our rights are protected, and South Africa does not become a State that censors religious belief and expression.

I trust that my submission will receive your attention and consideration. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

ANGELIQUE KALAM
Mike
No I do not
South Africa already has an adequate arsenal of laws designed to combat hate crimes and hate speech. The problem is that it is not being applied properly. White racists are being given ridiculously heavy sentences for minor offences, while black racists are simply allowed to spew their vile filth with no action being taken against them at all.
It is time to jack up the National Prosecuting Authority and ensure that it takes action against the EFF and other repeat offenders.
Ushka
Not fully
This is a fine razor edge. I support the right to freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right to access to justice, and the right to just administrative action. I do not support racist propaganda and hate speech that incites division and violence amongst SA citizens. I strongly condemn the EFF's pre-meditated ongoing hate policy. I am outraged at the double standards of our captured judiciary. A compelling point in question: Kessie Nair was arrested in Sept for the K-word and is still in prison without bail, (pending mental assessment in April 2019), while Malema's favourite K-word is KILL, (targeting a minority ethnic race) with impunity. Which is more dangerous? The K-word or killing? No rocket science required. Even a child knows the answer.
Patricia
Yes I do
Because this just causes more harm.
Lionel
Yes I do
The amount of Hate Speech, Racism, homophobia prevalent in our society must be quelled if SA stands a chance of retaining any semblance of a democracy.

Important to note; this is not a petition but is the first step in an essential Participative Democracy process protected under the SA Constitution. Your comment is immediately sent as a unique email to the designated government representative and must, by law, be acknowledged and considered. Had this been a petition, all comments would be seen as a single collective submission.

By using this service you ensure an accurate record is held by civil society (on our encrypted database) so government cannot dispute facts or figures. This process forms a solid foundation for a legal case should the necessity arise.

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