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Hate Crimes Bill Under the Spotlight

July 22, 2021

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The justice and correctional services committee is currently not processing the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

The deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, confirmed this during an address at a webinar hosted by the Institute for Healing of Memories.

The deputy minister added that this is “due to the judgments in the Masuku and Qwelane case matters, which were argued before the Constitutional Court some time ago, still being outstanding”.

The bill was tabled in parliament in April 2018 and lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.

The national assembly revived the bill in October 2019.

It seeks to:

• give effect to the Republic’s obligations in terms of the Constitution and international human rights instruments concerning racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in accordance with international law obligations;
• provide for the offence of hate crime and the offence of hate speech and the prosecution of persons who commit those offences;
• provide for appropriate sentences that may be imposed on persons who commit hate crime and hate speech offences;
• provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech;
• provide for the reporting on the implementation, application and administration of this Act;
• effect consequential amendments to certain Acts of Parliament; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the deputy minister, the “definition of hate speech is a matter under consideration by the court and its outcome will be instructive to the legislative process”.

“If the legislation is found not to be constitutionally non-compliant, then the time and resources put into deliberating on a Bill may be wasted if the Court determines an outcome that is not aligned to a Bill being deliberated upon,” he said.

The deputy minister holds the view that the Constitutional Court will give its judgment soon opening the door for parliament to proceed with the bill.