Hate Crimes Bill approved for public comment

The proposed Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill includes crimes which exist under current criminal law, and forms of special bias, which include racism.

This is according to Steve Letsike, a Task Team member of the hate crimes bill, which was approved for public comment by Cabinet on Thursday.

The hate crimes bill is specific to the motive, it is specific to the incidents which take place because of prejudice which exist amongst our community

Steve Letsike, Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Task Team Member

In April this year, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha announced that government is drafting a bill to address hate speech and racism in South Africa.

Minister Masutha said that the bill would create an offence of hate crimes and hate speech and criminalize any conduct which amounts to an attempt, incitement, instigation and conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

By all accounts, its about how it will address the inequalities, and that is why in the case of racism, it will have to go through the Equality Court to ensure that there will be redress for people

Steve Letsike, Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Task Team Member

Speaking to #NightTalk's Sizwe Dhlomo, Letsike says that the hate crimes bill addresses the inequalities which exist in redress for people who are victims of discrimination and hate crime.

The Constitution is not based on any religion, the Constitution is about human rights. I think it needs to be understood in that way

Steve Letsike, Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Task Team Member

Announcing Cabinet's approval of the bill for public comment, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said that the hate crimes bill is aligned to the National Development Plan, which highlights the need for sustained campaigns against racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia in the country.

It has to be understood that the Constitution comes with responsibility. If we speak about human rights, there's no one who is above that, and everyone should be seen as equal

Steve Letsike, Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Task Team Member

Letsike says that the hate crimes bill wants to acknowledge and enforce equality of people from all backgrounds before the law.

Listen to the conversation below:

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