Parliament has approved a bill that will criminalise hate speech and hate crimes. The bill was introduced 5 years ago. On Tuesday, the National Assembly supported the technical amendments the National Council of Provinces proposed. One change is reducing the prison term for such offences from eight to five years, according to EWN.
However, not all parties supported the bill. They are concerned about potential infringements on freedom of speech and expression. The Democratic Alliance (DA) voiced scepticism, with Werner Horn highlighting the absence of a clear definition of hate and critiquing clauses that purportedly protect the rights of academics, journalists, artists, and religious groups.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), represented by Busisiwe Mkhwebane, emphasised the bill’s necessity in addressing racist incidents. However, the National Freedom Party (NFP), through Shaik Emam, cautioned about its selective application, questioning the criteria for identifying hate speech based on the race of the individuals involved.
Despite objections from the DA, Freedom Front Plus, and ACDP, the bill will now proceed to the president for final approval and enactment into law. This legislative development marks a crucial milestone in addressing hate speech and crimes within the country, with potential implications for freedom of expression and societal harmony.
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