Research findings prompt push for Hate Crimes Bill
Publish date: 12 February 2018
Issue Number: 761
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
The top three reasons behind hate crimes in SA were nationality, sexual orientation and religion, the Hate Crimes Working Group said last week, launching a petition calling for the Minister of Justice to push forward the Hate Crimes Bill into law. The research revealed that most victims of hate crimes, 59%, were black or African, TimesLIVE says. The majority of these victims, however, were non-South African. Only 42% were born in SA, with 28% originating from an East African country and 18% from a Central African country. The group said men were the greatest victims of hate crimes, making up 68% of victims interviewed. Hate crimes against lesbian or gay individuals made up 35% of the victims. And the workplace was the most common place where hate crimes occurred. The working group's research was based on 945 cases investigated over a five-year period, focusing on Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The Eastern Cape accounted for the bulk of the hate crimes at 27%, followed by the Western Cape (26%) and Gauteng at 20%. Sanja Bornman, who heads the group, said the Bill was introduced in November 2016 but to date there had been no action.
Lawyers for Human Rights' Bornman stressed the need for a Hate Crimes Bill. ‘It may not be perfect in its draft format but we want to see this Hate Crimes Bill enter the legislative process,’ said Bornman, who urged South Africans to sign the ALLOut petition. ‘We want it to go to Cabinet for approval and we want it to be opened up for public comment and participation so that we, as South Africans, have a say about what this Bill should look like and we can get that much closer to having a law that will show us how we conduct, prevent and intervene in the question of hate crimes,’ Bornman added, according to a News24 report. Hate and Bias Crime Monitoring Form Project leader, Professor Juan Nel, said the study was the first of its kind. ‘Hate incidents have an especially traumatic effect on victims, with additional consequences for communities and societies,’ said Nel. Yolanda Mitchell, from Ubora Research Solutions (which compiled the report), said victims ranged from infants to elderly people, one as old as 81. ‘No one was exempt,’ she said. Mitchell said there was a need for a Bill that would offer guidelines for responses to hate crimes. There was also a need to monitor and record hate crimes.