24 March 2017
Government condemns the resurgence of racist posts on Twitter and Facebook which deliberately undermine the gains made towards social cohesion, nation building and strengthening democracy. Government is of the view that this malicious and offensive content erodes the values of our Constitution and incites social tensions in communities.
Acting GCIS Director General, Donald Liphoko, said: “It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day. Government will actively pursue offenders through all available mechanisms including confronting employers and will not allow incidents of racism to define us as a country. What we do in defense of our country today will define who we are as a country in the future. Those found guilty of racist utterances and acts must face the consequences of their actions.”
The public is encouraged to become more active in counteracting racism, within the confines of the law. To echo President Jacob Zuma -‘the ideology of racism remains firmly entrenched among some in our population, and it represents one of the most despicable human rights violations.” Victims of racism can seek recourse by opening a case at any local police station, or through the South African Human Rights Commission and the Equality Courts. Racism is a direct violation of the Constitutional Rights of each South African.
Whilst government respects freedom of expression, it will not allow racism to disrupt the gains we have made as a country. To this end the Department of Justice is finalising the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances which will strengthen the fight against racism and related intolerances. Further to this, the enactment of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will criminalise hate crimes and hate speech.
Government reminds all citizens that the use of social media is just like any other form of publication, and people can be held liable for the consequences for what one posts or tweets.
South Africa is a democratic country that is governed by the Constitution and the rule of law applies and all who live within our borders should be promoting social cohesion and a peaceful co-existence.
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