November 30, 2021

New hate speech laws planned for South Africa – including jail time for messages sent via WhatsApp

Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional companies has known as for public touch upon the up to date Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and the Hate Speech Invoice.

The invoice outlines the offence of a hate crime and the offence of hate speech. It additionally particulars the suitable sentences which may be imposed on individuals who commit these offences.

What are hate crimes and hate speech? 

The invoice states {that a} ‘hate crime’ is dedicated if an individual commits any recognised offence motivated by prejudice or intolerance. This additionally contains prejudice towards a member of the family of the sufferer or the sufferer’s affiliation with or help for a bunch of individuals who share related traits.

An individual commits ‘hate speech’ after they publish or share statements that clearly intend to be dangerous or incite hurt. This contains selling or propagating hatred primarily based on the next classes:

  • Age
  • Albinism
  • Start
  • Color
  • Tradition
  • Incapacity
  • Ethnic or social origin
  • Gender or gender identification
  • HIV standing
  • Language
  • Nationality or migrant or refugee standing
  • Race
  • Faith
  • Intercourse, which incorporates intersex
  • Sexual orientation

The invoice additionally makes it an offence to distribute hate speech materials in our on-line world – i.e., digitally or on digital channels – and stated particular person is aware of that such digital communication constitutes hate speech.


The invoice excludes from hate speech something carried out in good religion, similar to:

  • Inventive creativity;
  • A efficiency or one other type of expression;
  • Tutorial or scientific inquiry;
  • Truthful and correct reporting;
  • Commentary within the public curiosity.

This additionally extends to non secular tenets, beliefs, educating, doctrine or writings.

Nevertheless, creative creativity or efficiency or espousal of spiritual doctrine won’t qualify for the exemption from hate speech if it advocates hatred that constitutes incitement to trigger hurt primarily based on any protected grounds.


Penalties relevant within the case of hate speech embody a high quality or imprisonment for a interval not exceeding three years within the case of a primary conviction.

This may be prolonged to a high quality or imprisonment for a interval not exceeding 5 years within the case of a subsequent conviction.

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