DURBAN - THE Commission for Gender Equality said its submissions on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was important as the commission’s contributions would contribute to affirming the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex+ (LGBTQI+) persons to experience equality with others.
The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services in August invited stakeholders and interested persons to submit written submissions on the bill. The closing date is on Friday.
The closing date comes in the backdrop of yet another murder of a homosexual in uMbumbulu at the weekend.
Sisanda Gumede, 28, was stabbed, allegedly by a relative, while at a local shop and her funeral is expected to take place on Friday.
In June, Anele Bhengu, 22, a homosexual, was found dead with multiple stab wounds, also in uMbumbulu.
The bill introduces the offences of Hate Speech and Hate Crime (previously not in law) and attempts to define what constitutes hate speech or a hate crime by creating categories that included nationality, migrant or refugee status, sex, which includes intersex, albinism and gender or gender identity.
Commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi said every quarter they made four submissions on pieces of legislation in Parliament.
“This is one of our many continuous submissions on legislation that have a bearing on gender equality in the country. There is no guided or shared definition of hate crime to assist in the protection of LGBTQI+ persons. The purpose of the hate crime legislation is to investigate and prosecute crimes committed with bias against LGBTQI+ people.
“It is thus within the Constitutional obligation and mandate of the commission to make a submission in respect of this proposed legislation as the custodians of the protection of the rights of vulnerable communities, especially the LGBTQI+ persons from discrimination and crimes associated with discrimination, such as the corrective rape, assaults and the scourge of murder faced by LGBTQI+ persons. A submission is also important, as the CGE’s contributions would contribute to affirming the rights of LGBTQI+ persons to actually experience equality with others,” said Baloyi.
The bill was approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament in 2018.
Its purpose was, among others, to give effect to South Africa’s obligations in terms of the Constitution and international human rights instruments concerning racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in accordance with international law obligations.