National Assembly to send Hate Speech Bill to President to sign

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The National Assembly will send the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill to the President to sign into law.

This, after the House passed the legislation in a marathon sitting of more than 10 hours, during which various other Bills were also considered.

Introduced five years ago, the Bill aims to provide protection against hate crimes and hate speech, particularly those based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other form of discrimination.

The Bill was first passed by the National Assembly in March this year and sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), that had returned it to the NA with mainly technical changes.

Justice and Correctional Services Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe says, “The Bill seeks to address the frequently occurring conduct of persons, sometimes violent, who are motivated by clear and defined prejudices.”

VIDEO | Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has voted in favour of the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill.

The Bill aims to make the Investigative Directorate, existing within the NPA, a permanent entity.

It is also government’s response to the State Capture Commission recommendations to curb corruption.

Magwanishe says they are aware of criticism of the bill.

“The committee will address issues with the Bill… the comprehensive independence of the NPA in its legacy report for the attention of 7th Parliament. In addition, the committee urges the minister to introduce such legislation before the end of January 2025.”

The Bill was widely criticised by opposition parties for not nearly doing enough to ensure the independence of the NPA or ID.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Glynnis Breytenbach says while they supported the Bill, the legislation is wholly inadequate.

“We should be here establishing truly independent, separate from NPA, maybe Chapter 9 Institution to make SA safe again. Instead, we are here with this sorry wholly unsatisfactory piece of legislation that took so long to get to Parliament. What a shame. What a disgrace.”