Hate Speech Bill: Objection to religious exemption amendment

An amendment to the ‘Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill‘, called a ‘religious exemption’ clause (in s3(2)(d) of the Bill), will allow “the bona fide interpretation and proselytising or espousing of any religious tenet, belief, teaching, doctrine or writings, to the extent that such interpretation and proselytisation does not advocate hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm, based on one or more of the grounds referred to in subsection (1)(a).”
A similar clause in the Civil Union Act currently allows Home Affairs officials to refuse to solemnize civil unions between same-sex couples. This clause is now being removed from the Act, because Home Affairs officials are refusing to offer equity in service to all South Africans.
The religious exemption clause must be removed from the Hate Speech Bill. Allowing a certain group of South Africans special exemption from the prohibition against hate speech will invite hate speech against targeted minorities.
SAPRA objects to the inclusion of a ‘religious exemption clause’ to the Hate Speech Bill.
Submit your objection to the religious exemption clause to:
Comments should be marked for the attention of T Ross:
(a) if they are forwarded by post, be addressed to –
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Private Bag X81, PRETORIA 0001;
(b) if delivered by hand, be delivered at –
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Salu Building, 316 Thabo Sehume Street (Corner of Thabo Sehume and Francis Baard Streets), PRETORIA;
(c) if they are delivered by E-mail, they can be sent to: hatecrimes@justice.gov.za; or
(d) if it is faxed, they can be faxed to 012 406 4632.

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