Supreme Court of Appeal got it wrong on Qwelane hate speech judgment

Hate speech is a grave malady which, unless arrested, is capable of causing the destruction of our democratic order, the writer says.
Hate speech is a grave malady which, unless arrested, is capable of causing the destruction of our democratic order, the writer says.
Image: GroundUp/Ben Bezuidenhout via Wikimedia (

I beg to disagree with the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of Appeal on what constitutes hate speech in Jon Qwelane case. Hate speech by any legal definition is a blatant violation of our constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Under the guise of freedom of expression, demagogues test the constraints of the constitution by engaging and becoming cheerleaders for forces of hate, from xenophobics to political extremists. Any attempt to legally desanitise hate speech will lead to fascism by stealth. Hate speech and its toxin twin are an affront to humanity. Any form of human degradation is an outrageous violation of our sacred constitution.

Racism and its insidious hate speech twin are two of the most baneful and persistent evils; they are a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts, its perpetrators and blights human progress.

Hate speech is a grave malady which, unless arrested, is capable of causing the destruction of our democratic order. It is a corrosion that has bitten into the fibre and attacked the whole social structure of our society. There is surely no nation in this world that holds hate speech in greater horror than us.

Faroouk Araie, Benoni

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