Tomorrow is the last day for public comment on the ANC’s proposed “hate speech law”. The official name is the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech bill. You can read the draft here.
In short, the proposed law will criminalise - as in, send to prison - anyone who says “racist” things (such as Penny Sparrow’s infamous Facebook post) or ridicules the president, for example. This will certainly include comedians and cartoonists.
To illustrate, a cartoon like the following one I did during 2013 for EWN, would definitely land me in legal issues and likely jail time.
The next cartoon won’t even be a problem for the ANC’s legal team. I’ll simply pass Begin without collecting R200, and I’ll go straight to jail.
AfriForum are flying me to Joburg to join their press conference tomorrow, at which they will present a legal case against the “hate speech law”.
It should go without saying that such a law is profoundly dangerous for numerous reasons and erodes the foundations of a democracy. Citizens of a democratic country should not be criminalised for saying words or drawing pictures, no matter how offensive or inappropriate the words or pictures might be.
This cartoon I did for Maroela Media neatly summarises the “hate speech law”.
There is a reason why the ANC has tabled the bill, despite the official line.
And I think we all know what the reason is.