South Africa should respond to racism by outing and blacklisting offenders, according to the African National Congress (ANC).
During a debate in the National Assembly yesterday, Member of Parliament (MP) Jabulani Mahlangu called for a ‘National Register of Racist Offenders’ as part of efforts to tighten legislation to deal with racism.
Twenty-two years after the first democratic elections, outrage over racist rants on social media and racially charged clashes at universities have placed the issue of race relations firmly on the country’s national agenda.
Mahlangu says criminalising racism is the way to go.
“The criminalisation of racism will also rid this house and other public institutions of those found guilty of hate speech, like the DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard.”
Politicians used the debate to point fingers at one another for stoking racial tensions.
Mahlangu blamed the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and AfriForum for fuelling tensions at universities, claiming they’re opposed to transformation and multilingual language policies.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Yusuf Cassim gunned for the ANC, claiming the governing party was dividing the country for political ends.
“Their election strategy is not ‘vote for us because we govern better’, but rather ‘vote for us because we are not white’, doing everything they can to divide South Africa.”
Parliament has seen its share of racist jibes.
Just a few hours before the debate, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs Phillip Mhlongo and Hlengiwe Hlophe were ordered to leave the chamber after calling other opposition members racists.
At the beginning of the year, economist Chris Hart tweeted that ‘More than 25 years after Apartheid ended, the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities….’
His tweet was met with anger and he was suspended from his job at Standard Bank.
In another incident, real estate agent Penny Sparrow referred to black beachgoers as ‘monkeys’ in a Facebook post, which sparked national outrage.
Criminal charges were laid by the public against Sparrow.
Radio DJ, Gareth Cliff in a tweet, wrote that “people don’t understand free speech at all”.
He received criticism for the comment – with many labelling him a racist.
He later apologised, saying he in no way condones racism and has a lot to learn.
Last month, veteran sports journalist Dan Retief posted racial comments on Twitter regarding the Proteas’s victory.
Retief sent the tweet after Proteas Captain AB de Villiers scored an unbeaten 101 to help his side claim victory over England at Newlands during the final one day international in the five-match series.
Source – ewn