More than my own special interest and participation in the advocacy and formal processes, which gave rise to the development of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill in the first place, it is our commitment to supporting people to live secure lives that draws Accountability Lab’s special interest to this Bill.

Our view of social and public sector accountability is one in which society is supported to build the values, norms and behaviours that enable us to be accountable to one another in the enjoyment of our rights and freedoms.

More than the urgent and necessary laws that prohibit harm and give rise to both civil and criminal remedies where it is experienced, we believe that South African society requires greater investment in proactive measures that build and promote mutual respect for difference and understanding for our diversity as people — regardless of our religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds, sexual and gender identity and presentation, professions, and racialised characteristics and identity or other characteristics.

Our view is that the work that is required from us in preventing and combating hate-crimes and hate speech goes beyond criminalising these undesirable behaviours that divide our society, and marshalling state and social institutions to efforts which unite us in our diversity.