- The SA Human Rights Commission is investigating a case of hate speech after a series of tweets glorifying farm murders.
- The DA said it initially wrote to the commission in the Western Cape raising the complaint, but was not assisted.
- The commission said it viewed the allegations of hate speech and farm killings in an extremely serious light.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) confirmed it was investigating a collection of tweets glorifying farm murders and racist utterances.
The DA initially wrote to the commission in the Western Cape about the tweets and said their complaint was rejected.
DA Member of Parliament Dianne Kohler Barnard said the SAHRC reported to them that it did not have the capacity to trace individuals who posted openly on social media and that it also lacked the jurisdiction to investigate these matters.
The DA welcomes the U-turn by the SAHRC on its decision to not investigate social media posts glorifying farm attacks and murders as reported to it by the DA.This comes after the Commission claimed that it did not have the capacity.#StopFarmAttackshttps://t.co/V1c0YLKWet— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) August 19, 2020
"This is despite the fact that they have investigated and charged numerous citizens for hate speech and taking them through the Equality Court to completion. To our knowledge, none of those found guilty actually called for the killing of our fellow citizens.
"This overnight turnaround follows pressure from the DA and mass outrage by the public who exposed the commission's contrary reaction to posts glorifying farm murders compared to other highly publicised cases where individuals posted racially fuelled comments targeted at specific groups," Kohler Barnard said.
Barnard said two of the SAHRC's eight national commissioners had since contacted the party to apologise for the statement released by their Western Cape office.
"They have informed us that the matter has been taken out of the hands of the Western Cape office and elevated to the commission's national team. The commissioners have also indicated that the SAHRC would be opening at least one criminal case with the South African Police Service (SAPS).
"There should be no place in a non-racial South Africa for violence being instigated and glorified against certain groups. At the very least, these instances of vitriolic and hateful utterances should be investigated, and guilty parties should suffer the consequences," said Kohler Barnard.
SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said they viewed the incitement or call for violence directed against persons on the basis of their race in an extremely serious light.
"For social cohesion to thrive within South Africa, the safety and freedoms of all South Africans need to be guaranteed and thus the state, particularly the South African Police Service (SAPS) needs to ensure the safety of all within South Africa from the scourge of crime, including crimes committed on farms," he said.