The justice department has launched a programme - aimed at clamping down
on violence against gender based violence.
A national task team has been set up -to tackle the issue of
violence - especially towards the LGBTI community.
Minister Jeff Radebe announced that the department has finalised a policy
framework - which would ensure persons guilty of hate speech are prosecuted.
Justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga
(Click for Audio)
As a department we have finalised a policy framework with regards the need
for a specific legal framework for hate crimes."
A programme against gender-based violence, including violence against the
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, was launched
by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Tuesday.
The equality clause in South
Africa's Constitution was one of the most progressive constitutional provisions
in the world, Radebe said in a speech prepared for
"Notwithstanding the comprehensive constitutional and legal
framework and protection for LGBTI persons, we have sadly witnessed acts of
discrimination and violent attacks being perpetrated against LGBTI
South Africa's justice system would deal harshly with those
found guilty of such discriminatory behaviour, he said.
A national task
team had developed a national intervention strategy to deal with gender and
sexual orientation- based violence, particularly in the criminal justice system,
over the past year.
The terms of reference for the task team and a rapid
response task team were developed by representatives of a number of government
departments, Chapter Nine institutions and civil society
The rapid response team comprised the justice and
constitutional development department, National Prosecuting Authority, the
police, and representatives of civil society organisations.
of the rapid response team is to urgently attend to the pending and reported
cases in the criminal justice system where hate crimes have been committed
against LGBTI persons," Radebe said.
The team's terms of reference
included a working definition of hate crime, as South Africa did not yet have
specifically designated legislation on hate crimes.
"As a department we
have finalised a policy framework with regards the need for a specific legal
framework for hate crimes."
The matter would be opened for public debate,
but it remained to be decided who would conduct this debate.
instance we will have to make a decision on whether it should be the department
itself, alternatively bodies such as the [SA] Human Rights Commission or the SA
Law Reform Commission."
The debate was likely to be contentious as such
legislation would need to balance freedom of speech with banning hate
"Notwithstanding the absence of specifically designated
legislation on hate crimes, South Africa's legal framework is comprehensive
enough to ensure that current incidences of crimes involving a bias motive are
dealt with severely by the law enforcement agencies," Radebe said