Solidarity media statement
Trade union Solidarity today said the ANC’s race politics is dangerous. The ruling party should rather apply itself to create job and to stop its policies that are stunting the economy, instead of using race as a political tool to win back the votes of its estranged voters.
This follows after it has been revealed that the so-called Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has been drafted and would be submitted to Cabinet shortly.
According to Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, existing legislation against racism is being implemented and applied incorrectly. “We condemn any form of racism in the strongest terms. However, existing legislation is being interpreted subjectively and in a very selective manner in order to gain political ground at the cost of certain individuals and groups,” Van der Bijl said.
“Before new legislation is considered all South Africans first have to realise that racism is universal and does not only manifest itself among certain individuals/and or groups, and the need for and effectiveness of current legislation need to be properly studied,” Van der Bijl explained.
Van der Bijl also explained that given that there is already a great deal of uncertainty as to what can be defined as racism and hate speech, imposing a prison sentence would only heighten the uncertainty. “What is meant by ‘any act that glorifies apartheid’ in the legislation is also uncertain and it creates the possibility that subjective and politically driven opinions could lead to people being imprisoned unjustly,” Van der Bijl said.