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Draft bill dealing with racism will also criminalise hate speech

Justice Minister Michael Masutha says hate speech will be criminalised where it’s intended to cause harm.

A YouTube screengrab of Justice Minister Michael Masutha in Parliament.

CAPE TOWN - Justice Minister Michael Masutha says draft legislation intended to deal with racism will also criminalise hate speech, where it is intended to cause harm.

The so-called Hate Crimes Bill is a response to a spate of racist statements made on social media.

Masutha says it was decided that the draft bill be expanded to include hate speech.

He was speaking during his department's budget vote debate in the National Assembly yesterday.

Masutha says all South Africans must rise to deal with all forms of intolerance in order to consolidate the country's democracy.

"As a department we will soon introduce legislation which will address racism and in particular, hate speech."

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery says the draft bill is a response to the outcry that met the recent spate of racist comments on social media.

"The bill will be put out for public comment before it goes to Parliament."

Jeffery says he expects the draft bill to be made public within weeks.

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