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Freedom of expression taken too far sometimes - ANC official

Incidents on Twitter have illustrated that some people abuse their rights to express themselves.

A controversial tweet by model Jessica Leandra.

CAPE TOWN - Freedom of expression is taken too far at times, the chairperson of the Justice Portfolio Committee said on Wednesday.

The ANC's Llewellyn Landers added the furore around incidents where two models made racist comments on social networking site Twitter was evidence that some are abusing their right to free speech.

The matter was raised with the Human Rights Commission in Parliament on Wednesday.

Last week, model Jessica Leandra used the k-word in a tweet in which she vented anger after a stand-off with a black man at a supermarket. She was widely condemned and columnist Mabine Seabe laid a complaint with the HRC.

Several days later student and aspiring actress Tshidi Thamane tweeted a message in reply to Leandra. In it she said she wished white people were killed.

Landers said people should be aware of the limitations of their rights.

"On the very same Twitter, people may be saying things that are not just nasty, but maybe downright racist. They will argue that they are exercising their right to freedom of expression."

He said simple apologies would not suffice in such cases.

"[For the] recent case, the South African society expressed outrage. I don't think the simple apology the person (Leandra) gave was adequate."

Both Leandra and Thamane have sinced apologised. They were due to meet each other on Thursday during a meeting organised by DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

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