PODCAST (35 mins, 10MB): Jabu Pereira (Director of Iranti-org) and Tshego Phala (Senior Associate at Webber Wentzel) sat down for an interview with Channel Africa. Both Jabu and Tshego engaged in issues surrounding the draft Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Pick up the interview on the link below: Listen to interview of Jabu Pereira and Tshego Phala.
Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Joshua Sehoole
South Africa, 15 February 2017
Iranti-org brings the next episode of the Conversations around the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill, where Maneo Mohale, speaks to Joshua Sehoole, Iranti-org Regional Human Rights Manager, on his views of the new draft Bill.
Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Sekotlaone Phamodi
South Africa, 13 February 2017
Iranti-org beings the next episode of the Conversations around the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill, where Maneo Mohale speaks to Sekotlaone Phamodi, a LGBTI activist, on his views of the new draft Bill.
Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Juan Nel
South Africa, 12 February 2017
Iranti-org brings the next episode of our Conversations around the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, in which Maneo Mohale speaks to Professor Juan Nel, from UNISA, on the history and process of the draft Bill.
South Africa, 30 January 2017
In the second video of Iranti-org’s five-part conversation series about the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, we sat down with Dr. Kelly Gillespie, a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at WITS University. Based on more than 20 years of academic research on South Africa’s criminal justice system, Dr. Gillespie explains her primary concern with the Bill: its reliance on criminalisation and incarceration as a deterrent to crime and violence, which she strongly critiques. Stay tuned to the series for more conversations and perspectives on the draft Bill.
On 11 November 2016, Iranti-org, in collaboration with the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), hosted a public engagement on the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, which was attended by over one hundred individuals and organizations from across South Africa. A panel discussion formed the centerpiece of the event, where various academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the Bill. The discussion led into a lengthy and robust debate. This is the first video in a five-part series involving conversations around the Hate Crimes Bill. Stay tuned for more!
Iranti-org engaging in the Hate Crimes Bill Process
South Africa, 20 January 2017
In the final quarter of 2016, on 11 November 2016, approximately 100 individuals and organisations attended a public engagement hosted by Iranti-org, in collaboration with Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW). A panel consisting of academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the content of the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Opinions were varied, and a robust debate took place.
From left: Juan Nel, Maneo Mohale and Kelly Gillespie speaking at the Public Engagement panel. Photo: Iranti-org
Speaking Kegomodiceo Mocoanncoeng of Vaal LGBTI speaking during a break-away sessions at the Public Engagement. Photo: Iranti-org
Speaking: Advocate Mandisa Mbatha-Beckett and member at FEW spoke about the importance of engaging the proposed bill. Photo: Iranti-org
Speaking: Anthony Waldhausen, founder director at Gays & Lesbian Network contributing during the break-away session. Photo: Iranti-org
Speaking: A member from an LGBTI organization based in Sebokeng, Talking about the violations affecting the community. Photo: Iranti-org
Speaking: Khwezilomso Mbandazayo of Oxfam South Africa talking about the next step of the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Photo: Iranti-org
What is a Hate Crime?
A Hate Crime is a crime motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. These crimes often involve excessive violence meant to transmit a message about the perpetrator’s bias.
Developing an approach to Hate Crimes in South Africa
A Hate Crimes Bill was being developed, by a Working Group on Hate Crimes, as a direct result of the high levels of xenophobic violence that took place in South Africa in 2008. Parallel to this process, and as a result of repeated lobbying by LGBTI activists, the Justice and Security cluster set up the National Task Team on Gender and Sexual Orientation-based Violence Perpetrated against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons, in 2011.
Life before a Hate Crimes Bill
The South African legal system uses legislation covering matters relating to civil and criminal justice, including the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 106 of 1996; the provision of administrative justice (Administrative Justice Act, 2000); as well as access to Equality Courts (PEPUDA, 2000); for matters related to discrimination and prejudice. To date the existing legislation has not deterred the rate of violent crimes aimed at LGBTI persons; and there is a belief that the introduction of additional legislation may go the same route.
LGBTI Activists respond to the Hate Crimes Bill
The draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was placed in the public domain in October 2016. It provides for the offence of hate crimes and the offence of hate speech. It also provides for the prosecution of persons who commit those crimes and appropriate sentences that may be imposed on persons who commit hate crime and hate speech offences. Although the Bill claims to provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech, and reporting on the implementation, its application as an integrated approach from government to its administration, is unclear.
One reservation is that the Bill started out as dealing with hate crimes, but with the publication of this draft, hate speech was added. There is a difference between the two. Hate crimes refer to crimes where the perpetrator is motivated by a bias. No formal definition of hate speech exists in South Africa at present.
A submission will be made by Iranti-org, by the 31 Jan 2017 deadline; and Iranti has activities planned that will take the issue further, through training around human rights, and building capacity in the sector to implement human rights; as well as hosting public engagements around the issue of hate speech and hate crimes. Iranti-org is currently releasing a five part series of audio visual conversations around the HC Bill, held with specialists in the sector. These will be loaded onto the Iranti-org website.
Iranti-org as partner in the first
Gender Affirming Healthcare Conference
South Africa, 19 November 2016
As part of Iranti-org’s on-going work around gender affirming healthcare, we co-partnered in presenting the first Gender Affirming Healthcare Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference took place on 19 and 20 November 2016, and was hosted by Gender DynamiX, Iranti-org and the Gender, and the Health & Justice Research Unit (GHJRU, University of Cape Town).
The conference sought to address the disparity between the standard of gender-affirming healthcare within South Africa; and between South Africa and other Southern African countries. This was looked at in relation to the possibility of building alliances with and training medical health practitioners.
The practitioners who attended the Gender Affirming Healthcare Conference were nominated by, or received endorsements from, trans organisations in six countries; South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited training was conducted by doctors from the Groote Schuur Transgender Clinic, together with activists and allies. The CPD training was introduced in South Africa by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), aimed at doctors who wish to maintain registration with the Council and need the work they are doing within Gender Affirming Healthcare, to be recognized, as they need to accumulate a certain number of hours to maintain their registration.
According to HPCSA, the purpose of CPD is “to assist health professionals to maintain and acquire new and updated levels of knowledge, skills and ethical attitudes that will be of measurable benefit in professional practice and to enhance and promote professional integrity”.
Over the two days, the conference covered:
- Informed consent, ethical guidelines and person-centred care;
- Providing gender affirming services without national clinical guidelines;
- Legal gender recognition;
- Gender affirming hormone therapy for adults and adolescents;
- Gender affirming mental healthcare for adults;
- Gender affirming surgery; and
- Gender affirming mental healthcare for children and adolescents.
Participants also discussed the formation of regional networks focused on medical and mental health issues respectively, as well as research agenda setting for the region.
The conference concluded by reflecting on the continuing violence and discrimination against trans and gender diverse people, and the significant contribution all participants could make in shifting the status quo.
Iranti-org and Gender Dynamix will be looking to build on this ground-breaking initiative in future.
Iranti org salutes Sally Gross
(22 August 1953-14 February 2014)
South Africa, 15 February 2017
Sally Gross was a spiritual and human rights pioneer whose life’s work included being born Jewish, being a Catholic priest, a Buddhist, a Quaker, a Communist and exiled anti-Apartheid activist and a pro-Palestinian and intersex activist.
Sally spearheaded the first intersex inclusion in anti-discrimination law and is responsible for making South Africa’s Constitution fully intersex inclusive. She was the Director of the first intersex organisation in South Africa - Intersex South Africa.
Sally would say:
"At root, it is surprisingly straightforward. When a baby is born, the first question customarily asked is whether it is a baby boy or a baby girl. In most cases it can be answered quite easily after a glance between a baby’s legs. In some cases, however, it is not straightforward, usually because the external genitals of the baby are ambiguous, male-like in some ways and female-like in others.
"The chromosomal pattern may not be standard or what would be expected with the way the person’s body looks. The sex glands, thought to be ovaries, might be mixed, or might be testes sitting in the abdomen. There may be no womb although the body type is clearly female-like. The balance of sex hormones in the body might turn out not to be standard, as it were.
"The best description known to me is congenital sexual differentiation (that is to say, sexual differentiation going back to conception and development in the womb). This is sexual differentiation that does not follow the usual paths of male and female, but which falls somewhere in between."
With this ability to share her understanding, she worked relentlessly and untiringly for intersex rights, within the LGBTI community and beyond. Sally remains a global icon for the human rights of intersex persons.
Sally, we will always salute you for your untiring patience in enriching our understanding in the LGBTI community by sharing your experience and insights!
In October 2016, the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was introduced into the public domain. Differing significantly from previous criminal legislation, the Bill makes provisions for the prosecution of both hate crimes and hate speech.
In the introduction of the Bill to the public, Justice Minister Michael Masutha explained that, “A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence that is a common law or statutory offence... and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance.”
The Bill goes further in criminalising hate speech, which it defines as the intentional communication or advocacy of hatred towards a person or group with the aim of inciting violence or harm. The communication of ‘contempt or ridicule’ over public online platforms is also outlined as a crime.
Although the Bill claims to provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech, as well as reporting on the implementation, its application and administration as an integrated approach from government is unclear.
In order to create a forum for the LGBTIQ sector to engage on issues pertaining to the Bill, Iranti-org, in collaboration with the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), hosted a public engagement on the Bill, on the 11 November 2016. The engagement was attended by over one hundred individuals and organizations from across South Africa. A panel discussion formed the centerpiece of the event, where various academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the Bill. The discussion led into a lengthy and robust debate. Concern was tabled around the deadline given by government in which to respond. The current deadline is 31 January 2017.
Iranti-org is part of a call from the LGBTI sector to extend the deadline for public comment to the end of June 2017 to allow for public comment, and a petition in this regard is being drawn up.
Iranti-org is a dedicated regional media and advocacy platform for lesbians, gender non-conforming, trans and intersex persons and their organisations.
Iranti-org is interested in creating a round table discussion on radio and other media platforms, with government and other parties affected by the Bill. Iranti-org believes this to be in the public’s interest.
By Iranti-org, South Africa, 26 January 2016
We are deeply troubled by the comments of Pastor Dag Heward-Mills’ sermon last Sunday at Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto. His sermon, in which he called homosexuality unnatural, is indicative of a deeper conflict between constitutional values and views expressed across many different religious institutions in the country today. South Africa exists in a time where legislatively, bigotry, intolerance and hate are condemned and disavowed, but where the lived realities of marginalised groups stand in stark contrast with the ideals of equality and dignity for all. The comments by Pastor Heward-Mills feed into the undercurrent of violence and discrimination against same-sex couples in particular.
The separation between public and private is a crucial separation to maintain in the struggle for equality. Arguments supporting Pastor Heward-Mills’ utterances as free speech need to take into account the public context in which he made them, and the telling applause that followed from the community – a community made up of nurses, teachers, doctors, judges, social workers, and families. In a country struggling with wide-spread homophobia and transphobia, denial of services, and ostracisation based on an individual’s sexual orientation, we cannot afford to be casual in our response to Pastor Heward-Mills’ sermon. South Africa has the troubling trend of overlooking infringements on human rights on the basis of ‘conscience’, or belief, even for public servants, such as is the case with Section 6 of the Civil Union Act. This trend introduces and maintains an apartheid around issues of sexual orientation, in an effort to appease religious groups. South Africa would not tolerate similar behaviour, policies, or public utterances with regards to any of the other prohibited grounds for discrimination as defined in the Bill of Rights, such as race – even in a church.
In June 2016 the country watched in disbelief while Sodwana Bay Guest House owner, Andre Slade, tried to defended his racist remarks using Bible verses, saying the Bible advocated segregation of black and white people. He also compared what he saw as differences in biology; pseudoscience similar to Pastor Heward-Mills’ false assertion that homosexuality does not exist in nature. People’s interpretations of religious texts are indeed their own prerogative, within their private domain. The problem is when those interpretations are clearly bigoted and discriminatory, and voiced in the public domain.
South Africa needs to have an honest internal reflection on how it can continue to ask the LGBTI community, or any other marginalised group, to leave their inherent dignity and equality at the doors of religious establishments, and why certain institutions and policies seem to be above the highest law in the land – our constitution.