Bill criminalising hate speech approved

Image Credit: Parliament.gov.za

Cape Town – On Thursday, the South African Cabinet approved the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill of 2018, which aims to challenge racism in the country.

Now that it has been approved, the Hate Speech Bill will be submitted to Parliament and is intended to criminalise hate crimes and hate speech as a combative measure against prejudice.

“We are confident that the Bill, once passed, will contribute to eradicating not only racism, but all forms of discrimination in our country,” said Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery.

According to the statement from the Justice Department, the qualifying criteria for hate speech is a clear intention to be harmful or to incite harm or promote or propagate hatred on the basis of age, albinism, birth, colour, culture, disability, ethnic or social origin, gender or gender identity, HIV status, language, nationality, migrant or refugee status, race, religion, or sex, which includes intersex or sexual orientation.

“The revised Bill specifically excludes anything done in good faith in the course of engagement in any bona fide artistic creativity, performance or other form of expression, academic or scientific inquiry or fair and accurate reporting or commentary in the public interest, in so far as it does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm, from the ambit of hate speech,” the Department said.

Two other bills were also approved on Thursday, which included the iKamva National e-Skills Institute Bill, as well as the Hydrographic Bill of 2018.

The iKamva National e-Skills Institute Bill allows the establishment of iNeSI, a legal entity with its own legislation to address e-skills, or digital skills, capacity challenges in South Africa.

“The Institute (iNeSI) will act as a national catalytic collaborator and change agent, for the development of digital skills and organisational capacity in the country,” said Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, who added that e-Skills is seen as of the priority areas of government in building an inclusive economy.

The Hydrographic Bill of 2018 will recognise and grant legislative status to the Office of the Hydrographer. It will also enable the Hydrographer of the South African Navy to be recognised as the National Hydrographer.

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