The African National Congress (ANC) says it has laid charges of crimen injuria against a number of South Africans for alleged racist remarks on social media platforms.
The ruling party said it laid the charges at the Hillbrow Police, Johannesburg at 11:00 on Tuesday, 5 January.
“The ANC will simultaneously lay formal complaints against the same individuals to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC),” it said in a statement.
The charges relate to DA member Penny Sparrow, Justin van Vuuren and suspended Standard Bank economist, Chris Hart.
The widely reported and disseminated comments have caused outrage on a number of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, the political party said.
It further emphasized that the vulgar views of a few white South Africans should not serve to create the impression that most white South Africans are racists.
“The ANC notes that given the reach of social media; (Facebook has approximately 1.55 billion and Twitter has 307 million monthly active users respectively) the circulation of such bigoted comments have the potential for causing irreparable harm to the dignity and reputations of individuals and social groups.
“The ANC further notes that the posting of such comments on influential public platforms are not only in clear violation of the user policies of the respective social media platforms – but violate the human rights of those at whom they were directed – namely black South Africans,” it said.
The party said that working together with the majority of the people of South Africa , it has committed itself to advancing and realizing the aspirations of the majority of our nation’s people to live in a non-racist, non-sexist South Africa.
“To this end, the ANC will utilize all resources at its disposal, including the courts, to ensure that the already fragile social fabric in South Africa is not torn apart by the reckless and irresponsible comments of a few individuals.
“The public uproar that ensued following the dissemination of the remarks on social media prompted the ANC to seek legal advice,” it said.
“The ANC considers the SAHRC and the courts the appropriate means to seek redress on behalf of the millions of South Africans who have been prejudiced, belittled and insulted by these commentators,” said ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.