Parliament Briefed on Hate Crimes Bill

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Parliament was recently briefed on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in April 2018.

Comment was called on the proposed legislation at the end of 2016.

The bill seeks to:

•    give effect to the Republic’s 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;
•    provide for the offence of hate crime and the offence of hate speech and the prosecution of persons who commit those offences;
•    provide for appropriate sentences that may be imposed on persons who commit hate crime and hate speech offences;
•    provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech;
•    provide for the reporting on the implementation, application and administration of this Act;
•    effect consequential amendments to certain Acts of Parliament; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

In March, the justice and constitutional development department announced that the draft bill had been revised following extensive submissions received on the proposed legislation.

During the briefing, the department announced that the main financial implications for the state “will be in the form of developing and implementing directives in terms of clause 7 and implementing training under clause 9 in line with the duty of the State to promote awareness of the prohibition against hate crimes and hate speech, aimed at the prevention of these offences.”

Approximately 75 854 submissions, which included petitions, were received on the bill.

The committee was also briefed on the International Crimes Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in December 2017.

It seeks to:
•    criminalise conduct constituting international crimes;
•    regulate immunity from the prosecution of international crimes;
•    grant extra-territorial jurisdiction to the courts in respect of international crimes;
•    regulate the investigation and prosecution of allegations of international crimes;
•    provide for the extradition of persons accused or convicted of international crimes to foreign states;
•    provide for the surrender of persons accused or convicted of international crimes to entities;
•    provide for cooperation with entities in respect of international crimes;
•    repeal the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002;
•    amend the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act, 2013, so as to confirm immunity for certain persons from prosecution in respect of the crime of torture; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

In a statement on the Hate Crimes Bill, the committee chairperson, Dr Motshekga, indicated that the committee understood the urgency of the matter but declared that the committee “would first like to consider the matter for greater clarity, before it decides on the way forward.”

Meanwhile, the department has called for applications for education assistance for TRC-identified victims of apartheid for the 2019 academic year.

Education assistance includes basic education and higher education and training.

Applications are invited until 30 September 2018.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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