The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said the hate speech bill will undermine the freedom of speech if ever passed into law, SurgeZirc reports.
In a statement made available to SurgeZirc, the party said it submitted an objection to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.
The DA said it does not support the bill in its current format, stating that if issues identified inside the bill are not properly addressed during the legislative process, it may have a chilling effect on freedom of speech.
The statement reads partly: “The Bill in its current form is unlikely to pass Constitutional muster as the definition of ‘hate speech’ is too broad, and does not meet the requirements set out in the recent Qwelane judgment. It needs to state that there must be a clear intention to: (i) be harmful or to incite harm; and (ii) promote or propagate hatred.
“Furthermore, the DA holds the view that the ‘hate crimes’ portion of the Bill should be abandoned, and instead be used as an aggravating circumstance in sentencing. In its current form, the Bill fails to address the root causes of prejudice in our society, it’s merely a cure to the symptoms rather than the cause of crimes motivated by hate.
The DA said it will continue to engage the bill throughout the legislative process as it is imperative that South Africans protect the right to freedom of speech.