On 12 July, Rene Smit of Cape Town posted on her Facebook page an image of Adolf Hitler entitled “Yes, man, you were right…” and which was followed by the words “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them”. To this, Smit added her own comment, “Free Palestine!”
According to the SAJBD’s formal complaint, Smit’s action in posting the above material on a public forum constituted a serious breach of the Prohibition of Hate Speech as contained in The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.
Specifically, Smit has been guilty of contravening the Act prohibiting unfair discrimination by way of “the dissemination of any propaganda or idea, which propounds the racial superiority or inferiority of any person”.
The material published by her further breached the fundamental rights to equality and human dignity as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and constituted potential incitement to violence against Jews in particular.SAJBD Chairman Mary Kluk said that such hateful discourse was unacceptable in South Africa:
“The message conveyed by the post was that the nature of Jewish people everywhere is so intrinsically evil as to have justified the murder of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis. It further suggests that just as Jewish victims of Nazism had no right to live, so is this true of all Jews today.
”Freedom of expression is an important democratic value, but it cannot be allowed to take the form of hateful rhetoric against others, whether on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or any other such grounds” she said.
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