The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has announced that due to public and stakeholder interest, the due date for the submission of inputs to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has been extended.
The new deadline has been moved from 1 December 2016 to 31 January 2017.
The Department is of the view that the public must be afforded sufficient time to ensure that once passed into legislation the Bill reflects the collective wisdom of the country.
The Bill creates the offences of hate crimes and hate speech and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences.
A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence, that is a common law or statutory offence (referred to as the “base crime or offence”) and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance.
The Bill has been drafted after a thorough study of other similar pieces of legislation internationally, such as those in Kenya, Canada and Australia.
Developing specific legislation on hate crimes will have a number of advantages.
It will provide additional tools to investigators and prosecutors to hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and provide a means to monitor efforts and trends in addressing hate crimes.
For easy of reference, the Bill can be accessed from the Departmental website, www.justice.gov.za.
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