The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) held a media briefing on Wednesday at which it released its findings on a hate speech case lodged against EFF leader Julius Malema.
The commission found that Malema’s comments did not constitute hate speech, “but are still problematic in a society that’s still trying to heal from the injustices of the past”. The commission’s chairperson, Bongani Majola, told the briefing the “issue of discrimination on the basis of race is divisive and emotive”.
The commission’s spokesperson, Gail Smith, said there “is widespread misunderstanding of what constitutes hate speech in South Africa”. Majola added that, when dealing with complaints, the commission “is only guided by the constitution and the law”.
The commission considered each complaints lodged against Mr Malema in respect of the law, Majola said. The SAHRC announced earlier this week it would be releasing its findings on complaints of alleged hate speech related to Malema and other members of the party.
They said they would release their findings and recommendations and directives on the matter and discuss the findings in the context of hate speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press.