Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa speaking at the launch of the annual Anti-Racism Week at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

Johannesburg - The anti-hate speech bill is before cabinet and would be tabled in Parliament soon, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said at the launch of Anti-Racism Week in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

"Once the draft bill is approved by cabinet, it will go to Parliament within this current term of administration," said Mthethwa.

"We will not rest until we eradicate racism...because racism does not only exist because of colonial history, it resides in people's minds and psyche. We will continue to strive for a world characterised by equality, peace, harmony and full of love." 

The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill seeks to make hate crimes and hate speech criminal offences.  

The bill, which was first drafted to only make provision for hate crimes, was later amended after several instances of hate speech via social media which caused an outcry among South Africans.

The bill will create offences for several forms of discrimination, including on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and nationality.

The Anti-Racism Week falls between March 14-21, and is held annually during the Human Rights month in South Africa. 

The campaign aims to create public awareness about racism and how it affects individual citizens and society. The national campaign further encourages South Africans to speak out against racism and report racist incidents.

African News Agency/ANA