|Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) Community Building Workshop: CRIMINALISATION OF HATE CRIMES AND HATE SPEECH
Date: Friday 24 February 2017
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN
Convener: Daniel Byamungu Dunia, Secretary General of the Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) and Community Scholar UKZN Centre for Civil society.
The Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill is government’s response to the high levels of discrimination and violence still evident in a post –apartheid South African society, as well as the obligations from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965 (“ICERD”) of which South Africa is a signatory. Article 4 of ICERD relates to banishing of all forms of discrimination and defines hate speech as “an offence punishable by law (of all) dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof. Interestingly, the Bill does not define xenophobia despite its widespread nature in SA (it also does not define racism). This is one of the Bill’s biggest short-comings. As it currently stands, the Bill is a significant positive step towards protecting rights and dignity. However, some potential issues should be considered, especially with regards to the definition and criminalisation of hate speech.