On 31 January 2016, the Helen Suzman Foundation made a submission to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (“the Hate Speech Bill”).
Our submission points out that there are existing legal mechanisms to deal with the offences which the Hate Speech Bill targets. However, this Bill not only duplicates existing remedies but goes much further and in the main, our concerns are therefore the overly broad and vague definitions in an unnecessary criminal statute, their obvious potential for abuse, and the consequential effects on the right to freedom of expression and speech as enshrined in our Constitution.
The Helen Suzman Foundation believes that racism, bigotry and other forms of prejudice are signs that ours is a society still marred by remnants of our painful history as well as present structural economic inequalities. We, as a nation, must confront these divisions through education, discourse, and debate in order to create meaningful change and true social cohesion. This Bill will achieve neither. We believe that it will instead have the opposite effect of suppressing free speech, thereby deepening these divisions and stunting the progress made towards our post-94 nation building project.
To view our submission see here=(http://hsf.org.za/resource-centre/hsf-briefs/submission-on-the-prevention-and-combating-of-hate-crimes-and-hate-speech-bill/view)
To view our brief explaining our submission see here=(http://hsf.org.za/resource-centre/hsf-briefs/why-the-hate-speech-bill-should-be-withdrawn)
Issued by Helen Suzman Foundation