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Western Cape logs most racism complaints

18 Mar 2023

MORE incidents of racism have been reported in the Western Cape than in any other province. This is according to statistics from the South African Human Rights Commission SAHRC . The Western Cape received 123 racismrelated complaints from April 2022 to January 2023. KwaZuluNatal followed with 78 complaints and Gauteng came in third with 73. The provincial manager at the SAHRC, Matthew du Plessis, said of the 123 reported incidents in the province, 43 were under investigation. He said other cases were resolved before the current total was reached.
"Most of such cases are resolved through mediation between the parties, and a small number are addressed through Equality Court action. The commission does not ordinarily subpoena people to appear before it in respect of such cases, and rather uses mediation or courts to resolve the disputes," he said. Du Plessis said most of those cases were filed under "hate speech" and did not involve a violation of the right to equality in most instances. "It is a violation of dignity, primarily discrimination, which is the actual violation of the right to equality, and is a separate violation under Section 9 of the Equality Act.

The Western Cape rarely gets any of those cases. "When we do get discrimination cases, such as the Brackenfell School THE SAHRC says most cases were filed under 'hate speech' and did not involve a violation of the right to equality in most instances. I Supplied matter or the SchweizerReneke case, we usually find that there was actually no discrimination. "Most racism that we investigate and remember, racism isn't actually a legal term the words 'racist' and 'racism' do not even appear in the Equality Act, the SAHRC Act or even the Constitution itself manifests as hate speech on the prohibited ground of race, not discriminatory actions and policies that constitute legally defined discrimination under Section 9 of the Constitution and Section 9 of the Equality Act," he said. Du Plessis said the perception that the Western Cape SAHRC offices received many complaints of racism was unfounded. These latest figures are not the first to depict the province in such a light.

According to the 2020 21 SAHRC annual trends analysis report, the Western Cape had the lowest number of finalised complaints. During the same period, it had the highest number of cases carried over. Du Plessis said the alleged racist incident that took place at Hank's Olde Irish pub in December was one of the 43 cases that were still under investigation. William Booth, the Hank's Olde Irish brothers' lawyer, confirmed that they had provided a response to the commission but were displeased by the delay in resolving the matter. They denied the incident was a racist attack. The head of sustained dialogues at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Felicity Harrison, said the statistics on reported racist incidents in the province came as no surprise. "In the work that we have done, the Western Cape has had continuing problems between and within racial groups that have gone largely unaddressed," Harrison said. Khanya Gqada, an attorney, said there was an ongoing debate that racism should be criminalised. Advocate Tumi Rantoa said the Constitution was one of the most highly lauded and progressive constitutions in the world, and that there was nothing lacking in the Constitution that contributed to people being racist.

Source: Saturday Weekend Argus

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