FW de Klerk Foundation makes submissions to SAHRC on racism, social media

2017-02-06 15:02
Penny Sparrow speaks to News24. (Felix Dlangamandla)

Penny Sparrow speaks to News24. (Felix Dlangamandla)

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Durban - The FW de Klerk Foundation has made its submissions to the South African Human Rights Commission on racism and social media in South Africa.

The foundations spokesperson, Dr Theuns Eloff, said hearings were scheduled to take place on February 15 and 16, this year.

The submissions come after a number of South Africans - including Ben Sasonof, Jessica Leandra Dos Santos, Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart, Justin Van Vuuren and Carron Nadauld Gouws - had the country up in arms when they made unflattering, derogatory and sometimes racist remarks on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Most of the comments were made in 2016 and the SAHRC has been investigating a series of complaints surrounding these remarks.  

Eloff said: "The largely positive relations between people are disrupted by jarring and painful incidents that have the prospect, through the ease of use of social media to go viral and stir up deep emotions, as has been evident more recently."

READ: Facebook racist intends pleading guilty

Detailed critique

He said the foundation was not contesting the use of social media in its submission, but rather the use of racist and abusive terminology to describe other people.

He said such incidents clearly set the agenda back significantly and had the effect of polarising people.

"Any and all racist references must be treated equally and uncompromisingly and racism is not limited to one race group, but has its invidious presence amongst black and white.

"Disdain, disrespect and disregard for any race group deserves in equal measure, condemnation and the response of both the law and education, including remedial education."

The foundation had already commented on the recent publication of the Prevention and Combating of the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, Eloff said.

He said the foundation had submitted a detailed critique of the proposed bill, adding that, "while hate speech has no place in our constitutional democracy, it is calling for a fundamental reconsideration of this Bill, particularly in relation to the possible criminalisation of free speech".

The foundation believed that the opportunity afforded to civil society, business and government to make submissions to the SAHRC was bound to be robust.

Read more on:    fw de klerk foundation  |  racism

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