SA to combat social media racism

Facebook and Twitter are two of the most commonly-used social media websites

Government plans to eradicate racist posts on social media

Government condemns the alarming increase of racist posts on Twitter and Facebook, which deliberately undermines the progress made towards social cohesion, nation-building and strengthening democracy.

With social tensions at its proverbial peak in light of a recent altercation inside a restaurant, many citizens took to their social media accounts to voice their displeasure which leaves the floor open for racism to get involved. As we all know, it only takes one comment or post to get the ball rolling. Acting GCIS Director General, Donald Liphoko, said, “It is unfortunate that such comments follow hot on the heels of the country commemorating Human Rights Day.

Nowhere to hide on social media

Liphoko continued, “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 defense 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. ”

Penny Sparrow, is a name that is not unfamiliar with racism nor social media. The disgraced Sparrow caught everyone’s attention after she had openly labelled black people as “monkeys” on her Facebook page. She was subsequently fined R5000 and claims to have been “stating the facts”.

There have been many more cases regarding the racist narrative where offenders have been charged, albeit rather leniently, and required offenders to undergo racism rehabilitation. Racism is a serious problem not only in our country but on a global scale and as such the public has been encouraged to become more active in counteracting racism, within the confines of the law.

Image courtesy of SABC

Public must play their part

President Jacob Zuma described racism as “one of the most despicable human rights violations” and called for the nation to unite in order to rid ourselves of the problem. Racism is a direct violation of the Constitutional Rights of each South African. Victims of racism can open a case at any local police station, or through the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Equality Courts.

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.”

The Department of Justice is finalizing the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances which will strengthen the fight against racism and related intolerances. Ultimately, government will look to prevent the occurrence of such crimes through the passing of the Bill as it will criminalize hate crimes and hate speech.


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