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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

SA needs social media training to curb racism: Justice Department

15 February 2017

Former Constitutional Judge Justice Albie Sachs says there is no silver bullet to cure racism on social media.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is hosting a two day national hearing on the scourge.
Sachs says he is happy that South Africans are debating the issue.

"I would say the huge majority of South Africans want to live together in peace and dignity. They would like that. They are yearning for that, but we don't always find the ways of achieving that and if we can facilitate that by combatting what is negative and promoting what is positive, then I think that is something useful," says Sachs.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development made submissions this morning.

The department's Danelin Fransman says social media training needs to be provided to South Africans.

"Once they are conscientised in a way that will also assist with reporting - and also given the power they have in reporting and raising awareness, they have a responsibility to portray things in an objective manner," says Fransman.

Fransman says the retweeting of racist remarks makes it go viral and it needs to be curbed.

Here are some racist remarks that have been reported to the SAHRC:

Penny Sparrow

The SAHRC instituted legal proceedings in the Equality Court after Penny Sparrow likened black beachgoers to monkeys on Facebook. Sparrow has been fined R5000 or 12 months in prison for crimen injuria.

Matthew Theunissen

The SAHRC held a conciliation meeting to conclude its investigation into a Facebook post by Capetonian Matthew Theunissen where he hit out transformation in sport. Theunissen referred to government as a bunch of k****.

Riaan Lucas

A Facebook user named Riaan Lucas posted a meme following Joost van der Westhuizen's death. The SAHRC is assessing two complaints about the racist meme. The commission has had difficulty finding Lucas as his profile appeared to be forged.

Dawie Kriel

Bluff resident, Dawie Kriel is facing charges of crimen injuria after making offensive posts about Hindus and their celebration of the festival of lights. The case has been postponed to March in the Durban Magistrate's Court.

Source: Jacaranda FM

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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