‘We Can Not Criminalize Racism In South Africa’ – Thuli


Marking the end of the anti racism day, a panel lead by the Public protector Thuli Madonsela discussed the possibilities and necessity of criminalizing racial behaviors and hate speech in South Africa.

The idea of criminalizing racism was introduced in early 2016 when the South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, called on the country’s citizens to move beyond the constitution in dealing with racism.

Speaking in a convention set towards nation building, social cohesion and reconciliation that was held at the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) on February 1st, Mthethwa stated that racism should be dealt with firmly; pointing out categorically the need for the country to criminalize it so as to seriously deal with any one found guilty.

Also See: ‘ SA Yet to Celebrate Its Achievements Of Human Rights’ – Center For Constitutional Rights

“The constitution is clear but we need to move beyond the constitution to deal with this practice so that you deter the would be racist from embarking on a copycat kind of action,” he said.

South African laws is against hate speech and racial behaviors but unfortunately, the penalties are limited to apologies and in some cases payment of fines.

It was in this move that members of the panel debated how to possibly achieve it. To some activists present, the issue of criminalizing racism shouldn’t be discoursed because it is evil and everyone know about it.

Against popular demand for the decriminalization of racism, the public protector Thuli Madonsela said criminalizing racism or hate speech would not be possible in the African system because to her, racism has eaten deep and its now part of the country’s system which can not be easily detached.

She suggested that racism which goes beyond being unkind to each other, perhaps  would be dealt with through proper and continuous dialogue and some added that its best to educate South Africans about their right to recourse.

South Africa has in the recent times witnessed a fresh rise of racism and hate speech in the system. But despite the rise in incidents of racism, in the last few months, the jury is still out on whether considering the acts as human rights violations would curb their occurrence

Howbeit, South Africans are continually urged to urged to devote their time to anti-racism campaigns, as the country marks Human Rights Day. Anti-racism week kicked off last Monday and ends on Human Rights Day on Monday.

Also See: President Insists There Is no Imminent Reshuffle Of SA Cabinet

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