Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
The department of justice and constitutional development “has already prepared a draft bill dealing with hate crimes”.
Minister of justice, Jeff Radebe, confirmed this in response to questions raised in the National Assembly towards the end of 2010.
According to the minister, should government proceed with the proposed legislation it would “have to cover racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.
Furthermore, it would need to be guided by “international instruments”. These would include a declaration and programme of action emerging from the 2001 Durban world conference against racism, and the United Nations (UN) convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.
Minister Radebe reminded members that the South African government had adopted the Durban declaration and was a signatory to the UN convention concerned.
He went on to say that the “envisaged legislation” could well make provision for the development of a “barometer” for measuring the prevalence of hate crimes. This would ensure that statistics are collected “in a coordinated manner”.
Currently, cases involving racial discrimination, hate speech and harassment are dealt with in terms of Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.
The minister added that hate speech is prohibited under section 10 of this act.
In addition, according to minister Radebe, “under certain circumstances” section 7 of Riotous Assemblies Act 17 of 1976 permits the prosecution of a person “whose acts or conduct constitute an incitement to public violence”.
“Research to inform the contents of the (proposed new) legislation is still, however, being conducted with due regard to growing international concerns,” the minister concluded.