Hate Speech Provisions and Provisos: A Response to Marais and Pretorius and Proposals for Reform

16 April 2018

This article responds to some of the issues raised by Marais and Pretorius in their 2015 article titled "A Contextual Analysis of the Hate Speech Provisions of the Equality Act" published in 2015(18)4 PER 901. In particular, the authors in the present response deal with a) the relationship between the prohibition of unfair discrimination and the regulation of hate speech; b) Marais and Pretorius' interpretation of aspects of the section 10(1) hate speech test; c) the role and interpretation of the proviso in section 12; and d) the constitutionality of section 10(1), as read with the proviso. For each of these issues, the authors first summarise Marais and Pretorius' contentions and then reply thereto. The authors also propose amendments to the threshold test for hate speech in terms of section 10(1) and suggest the enactment of new hate speech-specific defences.