Sunette Bridges in hot water over hate speech

Johannesburg - The Equality Court sitting in the Western Cape High Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a hate speech case against Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has accused Bridges of hosting commentary on her Facebook page which constituted hate speech, the commission's lawyer Brigit Rubinstein said in a statement on Monday.

"The SAHRC contends that Ms Bridges is in violation of section 10(1) of the Equality Act, in that she has committed hate speech, and is also in violation of section 11 of the Equality Act which deals with harassment on the basis of race.

"The SAHRC has asked that Ms Bridges apologise unconditionally across all the Facebook pages over which she has primary control and that she removes all harassment and hate speech from these pages."

The commission received complaints from the public about the alleged hate speech on the singer's Facebook page for a number of years.

Commission spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the court papers contained numerous examples of the "violent hate speech and racist" comments posted on her Facebook wall.

The SAHRC had approached Bridges, and she denied committing any offence.

Mangena said Bridges consistently allowed such commentary on her page, effectively condoning it and creating a platform for racist hate speech to flourish.

"The laws are in place for a reason and in a country whose history is centred on racism and oppression, with concerted efforts being made to move forward in this regard, people creating public forums have a responsibility to obey the law and stand up to hate speech and racism," he said.

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