ANC to lay charges against those using social media to promote racism

Party will simultaneously lay formal complaints against the same individuals to the SAHRC

ANC to lay charges of crimen injuria against individuals using social media as a platform to promote racism

05 January 2016

The African National Congress (ANC) will today lay charges of crimen injuria against a number of South Africans who have made racist remarks on a number of social media platforms.

 The charges will be laid at the Hillbrow Police, Johannesburg as follows:

Date: Today, 5 January 2015

Time: 11:00

The ANC will simultaneously lay formal complaints against the same individuals to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The widely reported and disseminated comments have caused outrage on a number of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

The ANC notes that given the reach of social media; (Facebook has approximately 1.55 billion and Twitter has 307 million monthly active users respectively) the circulation of such bigoted comments have the potential for causing irreparable harm to the dignity and reputations of individuals and social groups.

The ANC further notes that the posting of such comments on influential public platforms are not only in clear violation of the user policies of the respective social media platforms – but violate the human rights of those at whom they were directed – namely black South Africans. 

The ANC, working together with the majority of the people of South Africa , has committed itself to advancing and realizing the aspirations of the majority of our nation's people to live in a non-racist, non-sexist South Africa.

To this end, the ANC will utilize all resources at its disposal, including the courts, to ensure that the already fragile social fabric in South Africa is not torn apart by the reckless and irresponsible comments of a few individuals.

The public uproar that ensued following the dissemination of the remarks on social media prompted the ANC to seek legal advice.

“The ANC considers the SAHRC and the courts the appropriate means to seek redress on behalf of the millions of South Africans who have been prejudiced, belittled and insulted by these commentators,” says ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Kodwa added that the SAHRC in particular was established to promote, advance and protect the human rights of South Africans who did not have the financial and other means to seek relief through the courts.

“Twenty years since our Constitution was signed into law, it is troubling that bigots who once kept their views to themselves now seem emboldened – so much so that they are freely disseminating their deplorable views on public platforms in the hope they find sympathizers in the wider audience,” says Kodwa.

“In the interests of preserving a harmonious society free of the racism that nearly destroyed this country, this is something we simply will not allow, “ he added.

The ANC emphasizes that the vulgar views of a few white South Africans should not serve to create the impression that most white South Africans are racists. The ANC further calls on all South Africans using social media platforms to do so wisely.

Statement issued by Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson, 5 January 2016