Government condemns racism on social media

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pretoria - Government has condemned the resurgence of racist posts on Twitter and Facebook, which its says undermine the gains made towards social cohesion, nation building and strengthening democracy.

The Acting Director General of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Donald Liphoko, said this malicious and offensive content erodes the values of the country’s Constitution and incites social tensions in communities.

“It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day.

“Government will actively pursue offenders through all available mechanisms, including confronting employers and will not allow incidents of racism to define us as a country. What we do in defence of our country today will define who we are as a country in the future. Those found guilty of racist utterances and acts must face the consequences of their actions,” Liphoko said.

He encouraged the public to become more active in counteracting racism, within the confines of the law.

“To echo President Jacob Zuma, ‘the ideology of racism remains firmly entrenched among some in our population, and it represents one of the most despicable human rights violations’,” he said.

Victims of racism can seek recourse by opening a case at any local police station or through the South African Human Rights Commission and the Equality Courts. Racism is a direct violation of the Constitutional rights of each South African.

While government respects freedom of expression, it will not allow racism to disrupt the gains made as a country.

The Department of Justice is finalising the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances, which will strengthen the fight against racism and related intolerances. The enactment of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will criminalise hate crimes and hate speech.

Liphoko said citizens that use social media must do so responsibly because just like with any other form of publication, people can be held liable for the consequences of what they post or tweet.

South Africa, Liphoko said, is a democratic country that is governed by the Constitution and the rule of law. He said all who live within the country’s borders should be promoting social cohesion and a peaceful co-existence. –

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