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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Ivo Vegter.]

We can deplore hate speech without enacting repressive laws that define it far too broadly, and impose draconian sentences on those found guilty of offensive speech. The Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill should be slashed, to turn it back into the Hate Crimes Bill it was supposed to be.

The Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (let’s call it the Hate Bill) is currently before Cabinet, and once approved, will be tabled in Parliament. It is an extremely dangerous piece of legislation, however. Originally intended to deal with hate crimes, which is a perfectly legitimate objective, the bill has been ten years in the making. Recently, however, a knee-jerk reaction to a few hate speech incidents has seen the hasty addition of provisions on hate speech.

The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (Equality Act) already prohibits and criminalises hate speech. The Hate Bill goes much further, however, criminalising even petty insults and hand gestures, and imposing lengthy jail terms even on first offenders.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in September 2018 (CPI) & +6.2 y/y in September 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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