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Proposal to have register of racists met with resistance

The DA’s John Steenhuisen has described the proposal as a ‘gimmick’ which won’t address structural issue.

FILE: DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen in Parliament. Picture: Screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - A proposal to establish a national register of racists has been met with resistance from some opposition party members in Parliament.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) have poured cold water on the call that was made during a debate on racism in Parliament on Tuesday.

African National Congress ( ANC) Member of Parliament Jabulani Mahlangu, who made the proposal, said the register should be circulated to embassies to assist them with screening visa applications.

Mahlangu suggested the register form part of efforts to tighten legislation to deal with racism.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen has described the proposal as a "gimmick", which won't address the issue of structural racism in the country.

"What will be the consequences for people be on that list? Would it mean that you can't use public transport? Would it mean wouldn't be able to go to certain public areas."

The IFP's Narend Singh is also not on board with the idea.

"Just a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that we're facing in the country. It goes deeper than just having register and legislation."

The government has indicated it's working to add hate speech and racist behaviour to the proposed Hate Crimes Bill.

The country's statute books already have legislation prohibiting hate speech, under the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

Meanwhile, Crimen Injuria, which is the act of unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another, is a common law offence.