ANC seeks legal redress over online racism
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE African National Congress (ANC) is contemplating laying charges against some South Africans alleged to have made racist remarks on a number of social media platforms.
The ruling party said the widely reported and disseminated comments had caused outrage on a number of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
The charges were scheduled to be laid at the Hillbrow Police Station in Johannesburg.
ANC was simultaneously scheduled to lay formal complaints against the same individuals to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Tuesday.
“The ANC considers the SAHRC and the courts the appropriate means to seek redress on behalf of the millions of South Africans who have been prejudiced, belittled and insulted by these commentators,” said ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa.
Kodwa added that the SAHRC in particular was established to promote, advance and protect the human rights of South Africans who did not have the financial and other means to seek relief through the courts.
“Twenty years since our Constitution was signed into law, it is troubling that bigots who once kept their views to themselves now seem emboldened – so much so that they are freely disseminating their deplorable views on public platforms in the hope they find sympathizers in the wider audience,” said Kodwa.
The move by the governing party follows a number of recent comments some individuals made in recent days.
On Monday, Standard Bank suspended Chris Hart for alleged racist comments. Embattled KwaZulu-Natal realtor, Penny Sparrow, has also come under fire for alleged racist remarks.
Kodwa said nonetheless, the “vulgar views” of a few white South Africans should not serve to create the impression that most white South Africans are racists.
“The ANC further calls on all South Africans using social media platforms to do so wisely,” Kodwa said.
Meanwhile, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it would lead a debate in Parliament on how to come up with legislation that would punish anti-black racism and make it a crime –
“Racism must be fought where ever it raises its ugly head. We must speak against it, shame it, and isolate it. However, this cycle will lead nowhere until the collective dignity of black people is restored through economic freedom and justice,” Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF Spokesperson, said.
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