Special law needed for hate crimes - experts

2012-10-25 16:47

Johannesburg - South Africa needs special legislation for all forms of hate crimes, a conference on crime in Sandton heard on Thursday.

"It would be helpful to have hate crime legislation because it would focus the police minds when investigating, prosecutors when prosecuting, judges when passing sentences," said Kerry Williams, partner at law firm Webber Wentzel.

"And the legislature could give some guidance in how to handle these crimes."

Williams told the conference on crime reduction that the perpetrators of hate crimes could be prosecuted using common law, and judges could recognise the aspect of hate when passing judgment on these cases.

She said legislation would give added focus and stipulate minimum sentences for hate crimes.

In hate crimes, the perpetrator selects his or her victim for some discriminatory reason such as race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation.

Juan Nel, director of the centre for applied psychology at Unisa, said hate crimes were not recognised in South Africa.

"Unless they become a recognised crime category, they can’t be recorded at police station level.

"Without it being recorded as such, it is very difficult to get a sense of what the prevalence would be.

"Once we have it as a recorded category... you can get a sense as to how often it happens, to whom it happens and where it happens."

He said recording the crime would also help research efforts aimed at understanding the nature and impact of the crimes.

Nel said the priority that was put on hate crimes was not based on prevalence, but their impact.

"We believe it extends beyond the individual, it also affects the community. It also about the psychological impact that it has: the fear, the anger that it might create, and sometimes it has [a] ripple effect."

He said the Hate Crimes Working Group, in partnership with other civic organisations, had identified 450 hate crimes in five provinces since 2005.

These were KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and Eastern Cape.

The crimes consisted of 150 lesbian gay bisexual trans-gender intersex (LGBTI) cases, 150 foreign national cases and 150 other cases.

The conference was hosted by the Institute For Security Studies and would end on Friday.

  • erich.goosen - 2012-10-25 17:00

    To legislate for hate speech is not the solution. Rather remove the instigators of hate speech and the problem will solve itself.

      claudia.meads - 2012-10-25 17:08

      I.o.w. the removal of the entire ANC regime...

  • stevie0064 - 2012-10-25 17:01

    Absurd. These people want to legislate us into morality? Is this an April Fool's joke?

      stevie0064 - 2012-10-25 17:07

      How long before the to right to protest against the ruling party is considered a "hate crime" and thus a crime against the state (i.e. treason)? If ever the Litanies of Unreason are sounded, this is it.

      claudia.meads - 2012-10-25 17:12

      The leading problem is not the legislation per se - the key matter is how do you define it, its intent, its boundaries, etc, etc...

  • The4thHorsemen - 2012-10-25 17:03

    Hope farm murders will also be classified as one

      SharonE - 2012-10-25 19:33

      It certainly falls within the definition. Maybe the police will start taking farm murders more seriously if they stop regarding it as "opportunistic crime".

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-10-25 17:05

    1) Try and define 'Hate Crime". (Because there will have to be a definition). 2) With that definition in mind, consider how you're going to prove the elements within the definition of the crime. Not so easy. But, I hope they get it it right because I support the concept.

      parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-26 08:16

      Hatecrime: Anything that is done to me that I hate.

  • johan.vanheerden.737 - 2012-10-25 17:07

    Well then all who apply AA must be prosecuted

  • ft.burhaak - 2012-10-25 17:21

    A country with South Africas unfortunate history based on racial oppression definitly needs a law of this nature.It may be called a 'New South Africa' but theres still certain old draconian mentalties that are still very active. What took you'll so long??

  • andrewpullen - 2012-10-25 17:38

    Aren't all crimes that affect another person crimes of hate?

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-10-26 07:45

      One would think however lets say gang rape will just be 'regular' crime .WTF!

  • israel.khumalo - 2012-10-25 17:39

    Why people think this proposal target them? Is that not a confession that they are haters? South African please for god's sake, stop this attitude.

  • frank.hubris - 2012-10-25 17:40

    Hate is not a crime but a basic human right! It is protected under Section 15 of the Constitution along with all the other opinions and beliefs we may hold. Perhaps Kerry Williams should be disbarred and Webber Wentzel be de-registered for their failure to protect our fundamental rights. Anyway, I would never hire them to represent me and neither should anyone else, in my opinion.

      John - 2012-10-25 19:12

      I am surprised that you have not come under attack! I fully agree with you.

      riaan.mostert.58 - 2012-10-25 19:52

      But if you kill someone because you hate a certain race/sexual orientation, it sure is a crime.

      stevie0064 - 2012-10-26 08:32

      @riaan.mostert.58 The killing remains a crime. That doesn't change. But can we plausibly say that the motivation to commit the crime is itself also a crime? And especially since hatred is such a volatile emotion, how does one even begin to codify it into legislation?

  • vaaldonkie.visagie - 2012-10-25 17:52

    I predict that every time a perpetrator is white and his victim not, it will be investigated as a hate crime. With stiffer sentences, naturally...

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-10-25 17:55

    So who is going to define "hate crime"? As far as I'm concerned ALL crime (and that includes stealing from the SA taxpayer) should be punishable to the fullest extent of the law. It's a miserable excuse for the police to say they cannot prosecute certain crimes because there is no law covering that crime. WHY ISN'T THERE a law that covers ALL crime? We live in a wishy-washy state governed(??) by equally wishy-washy politicians who are unfit for even cat food!

      vaaldonkie.visagie - 2012-10-25 18:11

      I would reckon that all violent crime is fueled by hate.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 17:59

    Short lawmakers,the cowards and culprits will hate this ONE,about time!thank you.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 18:07

    Short lawmakers,the culprits will hate this 1,it was needed and about time!thank you.If u cant handle the heat get out of the kitchen,oppressors!

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 18:51

      Thumbdowners beat this,im giving the lawmakers a million thumbs not here for ur thumbs ups,so hike.

  • juannepierre - 2012-10-25 18:11

    A young man from the northern cape was murdered a few months back, genitals cut off and shoved in his mouth not for anything of monetary value but because the murderer saw this young man as someone less than a human being purely based on the fact that he was a homosexual. This is a hate crime. Farm killings? I think so too, it's still the same principal. As the perpetrator believes they are just in what they are doing because the victim is not really a person, or even a victim... Like a cockroach.

  • Chikane - 2012-10-25 18:19

    Hw they gona pull dis one off de ground? With Affirmative Action, women n disabled considered b4 all white men, dis will cause chaos to the judicial system, and law enforcement agencies. #bad idea#

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-10-25 18:21

    I'm astonished to read this article. The South African government already HAS a 'special law for hate-crimes' namely the fact that the SA government is a SIGNATORY to the "Rome Convention' means they have to abide by this international law: which means that they have to create a section in the SAPS to investigate hate-crimes, record them, archive them properly in their statistics - and above all to PROSECUTE THEM as HATE CRIMES. The Rome Convention is VERY CLEAR on exactly what constitutes hatecrimes. The South African government has NOT done any of the things they promised to do when they signed the Rome Convention. On the contrary, they are doing EVERYTHING they can to HIDE the hatecrimes targetting so many minorities in South Africa. I keep wondering why they bothered to sign up to the Convention other than that it looks so good on their socalled 'human rights record'.

  • Rooinek007 - 2012-10-25 18:22

    If this legislation is passed, I hope it gives guidance in classifying what a hate crime is. The reason why I say this is because, as we all know, whether or not a crime in south africa is as bad as a hate crime, depends on the race of both the perpetrator and victim. I'm referring to the double standard where only white people can commit a race crime. And as you probably remember, it was our president who recently said that farm murders are not racially motivated, despite all the evidence pointing to the opposite. So I hope that if this legislation is passed, that is not used to support the racist double standard we have in society.

  • johann.enslin.9 - 2012-10-25 18:23

    Too many laws already.

  • tiaan.vanderberg.75 - 2012-10-25 18:45

    Gestapo like legislation to persecute a certain group of the population.

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 19:00

      You need Gestapo legislation to deal with the remaining gestapo,their days are numberd,whether any1 likes it or not.ANC ,i give you my salute on this one!

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 20:21

      Lemme tel u gestapo lovers something,that gestapo mf who lockd me up on christmas eve,i was twice his size but because,i was an easy going fun loving guy, i took his s@

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 20:42

      I nevr saw ppl as black or white,but these neo nazis wid badges changed the way i tink.they creatd the division,not me.Im a father,i have a mother and father too,do u tink im less of a being then you!God help that mf if i find him today,nd i can stil c his racist white supremist eyes!jealousy makes u nasty,doesnt it?

  • tiaan.vanderberg.75 - 2012-10-25 18:47

    "many people are misqouted on the internet." - Abraham Lincoln

      jj.terblanche - 2012-10-25 21:23


  • eugene.vanes - 2012-10-25 18:50

    The so called community that kill people for nothing,rape the oppiste race,their own children.This is the hate.they even hate their own people and culture.Death panelty come back so we can see who are the murderers etc.

  • John - 2012-10-25 19:02

    The police are too thick to do the job of handling common law crimes. The motive for the crime is insignificant unimportant and irrevelant. Any crime committed against any sovereign freeman needs to be addressed. With a corrupt police FORCE their will be no justice. They are generally thugs wearing a uniform without the faintest concept of the CONSTITUTION!!

  • Neil Alberts - 2012-10-25 19:39

    yes espaecially the killing of white people!!!!

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2012-10-25 19:48

    Weber and Wenzel should consider taking hate crimes in South Africa before the United Nations. This is long overdue. The ANC will never ever consider Hate Crimes as being a factor for farm murders and the torturing and murder of minority groups as a hate crime. I have been waiting in long anticipation for this ANC led Government to go before the United Nations to answer for Hate Crimes perpetuated against minority groups in South Africa and denying that it exists. Instead the ANC led Government hide all hate crimes amongst general crime statistics. If Julian Assange can take his case as an individual before the United Nations then why have the minority groups in S.A. waited so long????

  • Oraniaboer - 2012-10-25 20:36

    Maak n spesiale wet vir die ANC. Want alles wat julle doen is rassisties.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-25 21:02

    Now if the nazi major general in my town gotta problem with my skin shade,then drop the badge and fight me like a man ,1 on 1!

  • hein.huyser - 2012-10-26 07:25

    And who decides how this "hate crime" is defined? As for me, all crimes motivated on the basis of race, culture, religious and gender must fall within this category

  • sisie.indola - 2012-10-26 07:37

    Hate crimes - how can that be - we are a rainbow nation or haven't you heard. So if legislation comes in regarding hate crimes does that mean BBEE/BBBBBEE is also a hate crime? Just saying......

      parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-26 08:18

      BBEEE and AA etc are hate crimes. I hate it, so does all who suffers because of it.

  • cirrus11 - 2012-11-09 18:17

    Time that hate-crimes be investigated as such. the ANC government has hidden hate-crimes away from the public aye too long to cover their failure to create a nonracial society is South Africa.

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