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Fighting prejudice: Masutha announces hate crime bill

Minister Masutha says the bill demonstrates SA’s commitment to eradicating such conduct from society.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Michael Masutha has announced the publication of the prevention and combating of hate crimes and hate speech for public comment.

The bill comes after a series of highly publicised hate speech incidents this year, such as the Penny Sparrow debacle, and racist attacks, such as the one during which a Cape Town club-goer urinated on a taxi driver.

Sparrow was fined R5,000 or 12 months in prison for crimen injuria in September. She was widely condemned after referring to black people as monkeys in a Facebook post after New Years celebrations on the Durban beachfront.

In June, the Equality Court found her guilty of hate speech.

Masutha says the bill demonstrates South Africa's commitment to eradicating such conduct from society.

"The bill creates offences of hate crimes and hate speech, and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences."

The minister says a component of hate crime would include various prejudices directed towards the victim based on race, gender, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, HIV status, nationality, gender identity, intersex, albinism and occupation or trade.