Zuma is less of a threat to SA’s democracy than the Hate Speech Bill
The Bill criminalises all speech: an insult can put you in prison, as can a joke about lawyers or calling the British pompous, writes Martin van Staden
The Hate Speech Bill should cause South Africans sleepless nights, as it criminalises virtually all speech of any consequence. Even amid controversy arising from President Jacob Zuma’s appointment habits and state capture, the Bill is still the most pressing threat facing South African freedom today. Civil society has unanimously come out against the Bill, and for good reason. As I and many others have written before, the Bill provides that you commit the crime of "hate speech" by simply "insulting" someone with the intention to bring them into "contempt" or to "ridicule" them based on anything from "belief" to "occupation". You can then be put in prison for up to three years. Former judge Rex van Schalkwyk recently wrote an article titled [The] Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, highlighting the problem that under this law people could go to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to help them get retribution against those who have offended them. Lawyer ...
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