S. African Parliament accelerates process to criminalize racism

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File photo shows South Africans take part in a mass rally marking the International Human Rights Day on March 21, 2016. (Xinhua/DOC/Elmond Jiyane)

CAPE TOWN, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — The process to criminalize racism in South Africa got a boost on Friday when Parliament invited public input into the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

Stakeholders and interested persons are invited to submit written submissions on the bill, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services said.

The purpose of the bill is, among other things, to give effect to the obligations in terms of the Constitution and international human rights instruments concerning racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in accordance with international law obligations, Committee Chairperson Madipoane Mothapo said.

The bill further aims to provide for the offense of hate crime and the offence of hate speech and the prosecution of persons who commit those offenses, Mothabo said.

It will also provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech, and the reporting on the implementation, application and administration of this bill, said Mothabo.

Public submissions must be received by no later than January 31, 2019 and submitters must indicate their interest in making a verbal presentation, according to Mothabo.

Public hearings will be held in Parliament at a later date to be decided.

The hate crime and hate speech could be a sub-category of an anti-racism bill that has long been overdue, according to Parliament.

Amid resurgence of racism-related crimes in the country, lawmakers have repeatedly stressed the urgent need to introduce a bill to criminalize racism to ensure the building of an inclusive society.

The latest incident took place in July when a black man was beaten to death by several white men in what appeared to be a racist attack in Middelburg, Mpumalanga Province.