The SAJBD in the Media

The Board featured prominently in the media last week, with our statement condemning the racially-motivated ‘coffin’ assault in Mpumalanga receiving wide coverage. Alana Baranov, who represents us on the steering committee of the Hate Crimes Working Group, was interviewed on  several radio news programmes, while opinion  pieces on the subject of combating racism and prejudice (including antisemitism) by David Saks and Charisse Zeifert, appeared in the Sunday Tribune and Sowetan respectively.

By contributing the voice of our Jewish community to broader debates, we participate in issues of national importance. This year, one of the most pressing of these issues has been the escalating problem of racially-charged antagonism, something that is becoming more evident at all levels of our society, including in politics. Recapturing the spirit of tolerance, understanding and reconciliation with which South Africa’s brave new world of non-racial democracy was launched 22 years ago has never been more vital. Our community, whether as individuals or through communal organisations must do everything we can to reignite that world.         

When a criminal act is motivated, wholly or in part, by prejudice or intolerance, it adds a significant dimension of severity to the offence. ‘Corrective rape’ against lesbians, for example, combines a brutal physical assault with an attack on the very identity and self-worth of the victim, not to mention that of the LBGT community in general. In recognition of this, a new Hate Crimes Bill has been gazetted and will be coming up before Parliament early next year. The Board is currently finalising its submission on the Bill, in which we will bring our particular concerns as a Jewish community together with our thoughts and recommendation concerning how to tackle such issues as hate speech (particularly online) and how to implement more effectively the anti-discrimination legislation currently on the statute book.    

Recent Articles

Durban Jewish Exhibition

Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances. 

Sara Gon compares the experience of Penny Sparrow with that of Bongani Masuku

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”

The Bongani Masuku Judgement - Implications for South African Law

Determining where the boundary lies between legitimate freedom of expression and prohibited ‘hate speech’ can never be an exact science. During the flurry of debate that took place around the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill earlier this year, this was something that came through especially strongly. Err too much on one side, and victims of genuinely hurtful and insulting verbal abuse are left without a remedy; err too much on the other, and a fundamental pillar of democracy is undermined.