Demistifying Hate Speech under the PEPUDA




Equality Court, freedom of speech, hate speech, factors to assess hate speech, South African Human Rights Commission


The factual matrix that is considered in each hate speech case differs from that in the next. However, certain factors always remain key in the process of balancing the different constitutional rights at play: who the victim is, who the perpetrator is and the nature of the expression. Additional factors to be considered in deciding whether an expression constitutes hate speech include: historical associations; who the utterer is as against the victim(s); the audience that is addressed and where the utterance is made; and the prevailing social conditions. How South African courts and the South African Human Rights Commission factor in these specific issues in assessing whether an utterance constitutes hate speech is examined in this contribution. Applicable international law principles and comparable foreign law reveal certain areas of the South African hate speech protection requiring refinement.



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Author Biographies

Judith Geldenhuys, UNISA

LLB, LLM (UP), LLD (UNISA). Associate Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law, UNISA, South Africa.

Michelle Kelly-Louw, University of South Africa

BIURIS, LLB, LLM, LLD (Unisa), Dip Insolvency Law and Practice (SARIPA) (UJ). Professor Department of Mercantile Law, Unisa. 




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How to Cite

Geldenhuys, J., & Kelly-Louw, M. (2020). Demistifying Hate Speech under the PEPUDA. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 23, 1–50.




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