The Human Rights Commission (HRC) changed its tune on Wednesday over its decision not to investigate entries on social media that incite violence against farmers. The commission has now said it will lodge at least one criminal case, following complaints about the placements, with the police.
This 180 ̊ turnaround of the HRC follows much pressure from the DA and the mass indignation of members of the public who did not agree with the commission’s initial decision.
Over the past month, the DA has referred several of these entries on social media that seemingly glorify farm murders and attacks to the HRC to be investigated as hate speech.
The HRC said on Tuesday it did not have the resources to track down and fine people for the hate speech entries.
According to the DA, the HRC’s decision not to investigate the placements, and the reasons he gave for it, is in contrast to several other cases he has investigated before.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA’s spokesperson on state security, says two members of the commission’s branch in Cape Town have approached the DA since Tuesday to apologize for the commission’s feedback on the placement. They confirmed that the request to investigate and prosecute the remarks would be brought to the attention of the commission’s national office.
“In the commission’s letter to the DA, the Western Cape office admitted that it was careful to accept the complaints. However, the HRC has made it very clear that it prefers not to represent the families of the murder victims of farmers and farm workers, ”said Kohler Barnard.
Kohler Barnard says the DA trusts that from now on the commission will take its mandate seriously and examine the blatant abuse of human rights and hate speech specifically regarding farm attacks and murders.
“Violence and hate speech against certain racial groups cannot be tolerated. If such incidents occur, they must be investigated and the culprits punished. “