John Jeffery Reveals ANC’s true intentions behind the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP

The DA condemns Deputy Minister of Justice John Jeffery’s remarks that white Afrikaners are the biggest perpetrators of hate crime and hate speech in South Africa.

Jeffery further insinuated that opposition to the Bill by the DA is based on the party’s supporters being persons who will commit offences under the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

The Deputy Minister admitted that these reckless and offensive statements have no scientific nor statistical basis and serve only to cast derogatory aspersions on an entire group of South Africans.

When challenged on the propriety and or basis of his ill-advised comments, Jeffery defended his statements by stating that he is a member of the ANC, which has political objectives they wish to achieve with the Bill – a chilling statement to say the least.

His behaviour undermines the non-partisan legislative objective of Portfolio Committees, and is an abuse of a platform not intended for cheap politicking.

The ANC has made its belief clear – that (generally speaking) only persons of a particular skin colour may be guilty of hate speech and hate crimes. So long as this attitude remains, the Bill will continue to be problematic, and the DA will continue to oppose it in Parliament.

The DA holds a variety of concerns with the Bill, which include the following:

  • That hatred should be used as an aggravating circumstance in sentencing rather than constituting an entirely new form of crime;
  • That the root causes of prejudice in society will not be addressed through this Bill. Instead, the Bill seeks merely to punish the symptoms rather than address the root causes of crimes motivated by hate. Morality cannot be legislated, and the Bill has concerning potential to be used as a political tool;
  • The list of characteristics and grounds upon which a hate crime or hate speech may be committed is overly broad and lacks evidentiary justification;
  • The harsh criminal sanctions attached to hate speech may force individuals and the media to self-censor any views which they may perceive to fall foul of the Bill. This will result in a substantially chilling effect on freedom of expression across society; and
  • That the onerous requirements of the Bill will place a heavy burden on an already under resourced NPA, and amounts, in effect, to double legislating.

The DA will continue to oppose the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill in Parliament and we ask that all South Africans join us in preventing this ill-conceived, draconian Bill from passing.