PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL LAW SOCIETY
For immediate release: 07 January 2016
KwaZulu-Natal Law Society responds to racist comments by Penny Sparrow and others
The Council of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society records its profound and deep concern at the avowedly racist, bigoted and prejudiced posting on Facebook by Penny Sparrow and associates itself with the national outrage expressed at the contents thereof. The infamy of the conduct was further compounded by her apology which was condescending in content and tenor and added to the injury the remarks had heaped upon a whole nation of people.
Notwithstanding the fact that South Africa has the most liberal Constitution in the world which underpins the values of democracy, equality and freedom, including the freedom of expression, it is clear that our cumulative laws are not sufficient to address and curb the pockets of overt racist conduct manifested in the posting.
Whilst the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society reinforces its commitment to the right of the freedom of expression and the defence thereof we believe that such freedom extends to the robust and vital discourse necessary for the enhancement of a democratic society and was never intended to protect prejudiced and bigoted utterances which are manifestly of a divisive and deeply hurtful nature.
Apart from the author being held to account for the conduct in question we would accordingly urge the State urgently to pass specific legislation to criminalize such conduct so that the social cohesion and compact to which the overwhelming majority of South Africans are committed to can be protected and strengthened without the risk posed by the conduct under comment.