SOUTH AFRICA: DEADLINE FOR INPUTS ON HATE CRIMES BILL MOVED TO JAN 2017

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has extended the deadline for public comments on the hate crimes bill to 31 January 2017.

The department said owing to public and stakeholder interest, the due date for the submission of inputs to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill has been extended from 1 December 2016 to 31 January 2017.

"The department is of the view that the public must be afforded sufficient time to ensure that once passed into legislation, the bill reflects the collective wisdom of the country," the department said in a statement.

The bill officially makes hate crimes and hate speech offences, and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences.

The bill has been drafted after a thorough study of other similar pieces of legislation internationally from Kenya, Canada and Australia.

The department said developing specific legislation on hate crimes will have a number of advantages.

"It will provide additional tools to investigators and prosecutors to hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and provide a means to monitor efforts and trends in addressing hate crimes."

Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria recently, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said the bill will help deal with recurring incidents of racial, xenophobic and related intolerance.

"A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence that is a common law or statutory offence (referred to as the 'base crime or offence') and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance," Masutha said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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