The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on Wednesday introduced the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which will make it a criminal offence to make racist remarks.
702/CapeTalk's Eusebius McKaiser speaks to Justice and Correctional Sservices Minister Michael Masutha to find out whether this Bill can make a difference in the fight against prejudice.
The Bill seeks to address the increasing number of race-related crimes in recent months.
It will make it a crime for anyone to intentionally publish or propagate anything harmful based on age, race, sexual orientation or HIV status.
We are moving into the realm of prevention, which they say is better than a cure. The unfortunate situation is that the underlying material conditions that provide fodder for persistent prejudice in society continue to exist.— Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
And as long as those persist, we are going to continue to have sparks of these tensions that will manifest themselves in various forms including through speech that adds insult to injury.— Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
But how does this Bill increase the likelihood of South Africa being a safer place for the vulnerable (women, the LGBTI community, and black people)?
The criminal justice system's primary role is not prevention but to correct anti-social behavior, hence we introduced the system of corrections as opposed to prisons, where we seek to work on the behaviour of the individual who has unfortunately offended.— Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
I can't say that the criminal justice system is designed to be the panacea of all ills in society but it's the primary tool to prevent violence and violent crimes towards vulnerable people.— Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
Masutha explained what constitutes the offence of a hate crime in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.
A hate crime is the committing of any crime that is a crime under our current law but with aggravation resulting from a motive of some form of hate. For example, the hatred of black people, a particular attitude towards women, the LGTBI persons or disabled people.— Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
To hear the rest of the conversation with Minister Masutha, listen below: