Retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe has called on the decision makers of South Africa to immediately criminalize racism.
Ngoepe said the race relations in the country has deteriorated to a sorry state.
For South Africa to survive its looming disaster, racism must be criminalized quickly.
Ngoepe was addressing a forum at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism. He told his audience that the nation will soon have a civil war if nothing is done to manage the unhealthy race relations among South Africans.
“If you look at what is happening in this country, (the) road rage between black and white could lead to civil war…Are you not going to criminalize racism? Even though there is the distinct threat that the country may explode? Unless we criminalize it, there will be danger to the unity of a nation,” he warned.
In response, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery divulged that the government is working on a hate crime legislation on the issue.
According to Jeffery, a hate speech section is delaying the bill as the Constitution allows for the freedom of speech.
Jeffery narrated that was an initial sentiment to exclude regarding hate speech, a hate crime.
“But then, it was felt that…we should look at criminalizing hate speech…to be able to move forward as a nation,” he said.
Thereafter, he disclosed that the bill will soon be published for public comment.
Also speaking, a law academic from the University of Pretoria argued the essence of the bill shouldn’t be to avoid civil war.
“If you look at the death rates in townships, clinics, there is (already) a civil war.” With that, he pointed out that racism in South Africa championed by structural and power inequalities.
Hence, Joel Modiri recommended that the racism problem can be eliminated via the elimination of the problems created by the arrival of whites in South Africa.