3 February 2023
The Ministry of Justice rejects, with contempt, comments made by the Democratic Alliance in a media statement where the DA falsely accuses the Deputy Minister of having allegedly said that “white Afrikaners are the biggest perpetrators of hate crime and hate speech in South Africa.”
The Deputy Minister had, in a response to the Freedom Front Plus, stated that their (the FF+) constituency was predominantly white Afrikaners and he was trying to illustrate the point that if there were perceptions of certain groups committing hate crimes the proposed legislation would, in fact, protect those groups (i.e. white Afrikaners) when they themselves are victims of hate crimes. The Deputy Minister said “it works both ways… it applies to everybody.”
The DA accuses the Deputy Minister of politicking, yet it is the DA who has now, opportunistically and deliberately, taken the Deputy Minister’s words out of context.
The DA further claims that “the list of characteristics and grounds upon which a hate crime or hate speech may be committed is overly broad”. In this regard, it is important to highlight the fact that the DA chose to exclude “sexual orientation” from the list of protected characteristics and grounds in the Bill, thus making the members of the LGBTIQ+ more vulnerable to hate crimes and hate speech.
Given that incidents of hate crimes and hate speech occur all too frequently in our country, innocent victims have very little protection against perpetrators who quite evidently believe that they are entitled to display and act on their hatred to people of a different sexual orientation, religion or race. The Constitution and Parliament, as the Legislature, must be the vanguard of all South Africans - not just some.
We reiterate our view that there is a need to legislate against these crimes.
We also wish to reiterate that this Bill, like any other Bill, would need to pass constitutional muster and therefore great care has been taken to ensure that the provisions of the draft legislation fall within the boundaries of the Constitution and do not unjustifiably limit the rights of people.
Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
Chrispin Phiri: Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
Cell: 081 781 2261