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speechWe, the youth of South Africa are so fed up with the power that be. Our future is dark.

Most Governments protect their citizen’s right to freedom of speech and the freedom to practise the religion of their choice by means of the Constitution. In South Africa, new laws will pave the way for an era of oppression and persecution because of the whims of our dictators.

As the majority of South African youth wait for the delivery of promises for better housing, improved health care, affordable and accessible education our Government is playing games and preoccupied with drafting new bills. It’s a matter of Rome is burning while the bosses braai.

The proposed Hate Speech Bill is designed to criminalise everything, from actual hate speech to harmless comments or comic cartoons, in newspapers and on social media. Any communication which is considered "abusive or insulting", any act of "contempt or ridicule" of a person, or ‘group of persons’ could be punished with a 10 year prison sentence.

The majority of the people of South Africa have not been consulted. We have no say. Our poor and rural communities have once again been marginalised and are forced to read these laws in English and Afrikaans.

We might soon find only one party in the ruling benches in parliament while the rest are handed prison sentences if they dare to debate the issues of the day, or speak on behalf of the people, which might ‘offend’ the speaker of the house.

We find these bills offensive.

1) The Hate Speech Bill will make ordinary human expression (verbal, gestures, displays, expressions, illustrations etc. which also includes the use of e-mail and social media) punishable for up to three years in prison.
2) The Bill assaults freedom of expression and muzzles the media into pleasing the ‘powers that be’. There will only be one voice, the voice of the one in power.
3) Not only is it a threat to freedom of speech and thought, but also to religious freedom.
4) This proposed legalisation would give the ruling party more power to jail and silence any opposition whatsoever.
5) The Commercialisation of Religion Bill will allow the ruling party to dictate all forms of religious expression and beliefs.
6) These Bills are setting the stage for political and religious persecution, especially if it criminalises healthy debate about religion and politics.
7) According to this legislation, whistle-blowing corrupt activities could be construed to be hate speech.

Indeed, freedom of speech and religious freedom will become reasons for state capture.

The agenda behind these bills is obvious to us. The next General Election is very soon. Is the ruling party fast tracking their agenda to silence the opposition, the people and eradicate democracy, while trying to escape corruption and criminal investigations by the ICC?

Will South Africa become the latest pawn in a battle between dictatorship and democracy, freedom and oppression?

CYPSA Spokes person: Bongiwe Mhlongo

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Published in Press Releases

Open letter to the ICC

 

Dear Sir/Madam

We’re young and we’re perplexed: Why the sudden decision for our government to resign from the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The fact that this decision was not via a parliament session shouts a message loud and clear. This weighty resolution was made by a few individuals in parliament. This leaves us open and vulnerable to oppression which is, of course, one of South Africa’s most successful trademarks.

We fear that we might also be subjected to the tyranny of murderers who annihilate thousands of innocent people and are never bought to book themselves. In our country’s past there was no ICC and so innocent fathers, mothers and children had no voice. Then they were powerless to resist, and now we too feel powerless and vulnerable.

We know that those who line their pockets with millions will squash and ‘terminate’ those speak out and tell the truth. Could it be that certain powerful individuals now fear the International Criminal Court (ICC) and increase expenditure on VIP protection to insulate themselves from any reprisals? Could it be that they know the time is ripe for the many skeletons to fall out the closet?

Our South African judicial system is indeed failing us. Powerful men hand out interdicts in an attempt to put others in the spotlight lest their monstrous deeds be disclosed. Imagine the comedy that a country’s public protector cannot release a report on our President’s corruption and dictatorial decisions. And the newly appointed Public Protector will now be a puppet.  

Insecurity is now the norm. We are not safe. We are ‘the rape capital of the world’. (INTERPOL). Primary school children carry dangerous weapons. We fear for our lives.

The Rainbow Nation has died. Diversity is no longer celebrated – one corrupt identity is being forced on us. We have no freedom, we have no voice, we have no democracy – we are cut off from the global community.

It is dark and we will die, not with a whimper, but a bang. We are voiceless and helpless.

Can somebody out there hear us?

Published in Press Releases
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