AfriForum questions constitutionality of hate speech bill
25 October 2016
The civil rights organisation AfriForum will seek a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill in light of the fact that at face value it seems to be unconstitutional and against freedom of speech.
Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, says that the Bill will first be studied, after which the organisation will submit a detailed submission.
Preliminary criticism includes that it places an unfair limitation on freedom of speech, and that the definition of hate speech is so wide that it causes almost any insult or offensive remark to become punishable. This may result in the Act, should the Bill be approved, being entirely impracticable and becoming an instrument of power abuse by the ANC government.
The Bill determines that fines or imprisonment may be imposed on individuals who are found guilty on charges of hate speech or hate crimes. The inevitable result of the Bill will be selective prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority.