South Africa: National Assembly passes the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill
On 14 March 2023, the National Assembly passed the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. The Bill was first introduced in 2018. It will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for further consideration.
If signed into law, the Bill will criminalise certain acts defined as hate crimes and hate speech. The Bill defines hate speech as a clear intention to (1) be harmful or incite harm and (2) to promote or propagate hatred on a list of characteristics including race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, nationality, and culture. Notably, the offence of hate speech will extend to the distribution of such speech on electronic communication, including social media and other online communications.
The Bill will now be sent to the NCOP in accordance with section 75 of the Constitution, where delegates have an opportunity to hold further public hearings and either pass the Bill as is, propose further amendments, or reject the Bill. If the NCOP proposes further amendments or rejects the Bill, the National Assembly will then have the option of either passing the Bill with or without the proposed amendment, or it may decide not to proceed with the Bill.
- The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill can be accessed here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].