The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will go before a parliamentary committee tomorrow, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said at the launch of antiracism week at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg yesterday.
“It was published last year and substantive comments were made by the public which have found their way into the draft Bill. Once Cabinet approves it, it will go to parliament in this term,” Mthethwa said.
The Bill notes that a hate crime is an offence recognised under any law, “the commission of which by a person is motivated on the basis of that person’s prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime in question” because of race, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, among other reasons.
This month is Human Rights Month and the third annual antiracism week will be held from March 14 to 21. It is run by the Anti-Racism Network of South Africa, an alliance of organisations working to respond to racism in South Africa formed by the Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada foundations.
Today marks one year since Kathrada died.
How to stop racism was a million-dollar question, Mthethwa said. “The roots of racism run deep from colonialism and slavery to apartheid and post-apartheid racism. Unless our approach addresses and tackles the root causes of racism and not just its manifestations, we will not be successful in getting rid of it.
“Racism is the product of a society built on colonialism and its apartheid relative for the benefit of a tiny section of our population.”
Former finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said inequality in South Africa had increased because of the failure of the education system to produce sufficient numbers of skilled people, and was also due to a reluctance to import skills.
“As a country this is something we have to seriously consider,” Jonas said.
Antiracisim week will be marked by events including school visits, lectures and the launch of an app under the theme #RootOutRacism, which calls on people to combat it.