Umphakathi Okhathazekile promotes hate speech against religious minority
Letter of Demand to:
Concerned Young People
Attention: Bele Hlongwane
RE: Satanic panic grips schools [Friday, 29 March 2013]
Dear Miss / Mrs Hlongwane
This Alliance would like to request your urgent review of incorrect and prejudicial information published on your website on Friday 29 March 2013, in an article entitled Satanic panic grips schools, together with an appended paper by Kurt Koch entitled Occult ABC.
The first mentioned article constitutes a gross violation of both the Equality Act and the Bill of Rights with respect to the promotion of hate speech against constitutionally protected religious minorities, in this instance, against Satanism and Satanists in South Africa.
We wish to draw your attention to the fact that recent public statements made by the Gauteng MEC for Education, Barbara Creecy, and departmental spokesperson Charles Phahlane (quoted below), constitute hate speech against a recognized and legally protected religious minority, members of which are not in any way implicated in or suspected of being involved in any form of criminal behaviour or activities in schools.
According to several media reports published in The Citizen, The New Age, The Sowetan, City Press, News24.com, IOL, Timeslive, LookLocal, Eye Witness News and SABC TV, “A team of faith-based organisations is to develop an “anti-harmful” religious strategy in schools, Gauteng education MEC Barbara Creecy said on Monday. In a statement prepared for delivery at a signing ceremony with religious groups, Creecy said “harmful practices” included Satanism and occultism.”
“By having officials working with teachers and parents on the ground, the department will be able to distinguish appropriate conduct relating to issues such as cults and Satanism,” Phahlane said. He said the aim was to create awareness of what harmful practices entail and to help children who have been expelled because of their involvement in these practices. (The Citizen)
This Alliance has lodged a complaint of hate speech against the Department of Education and the MEC with the South African Human Rights Commission.
This Alliance will shortly be lodging a similar complaint of hate speech with the SAHRC against the KZN Department of Education and MEC Senzo Mchunu.
“The KZN Department of Education is much aware of Satanic incidents occurring at schools in the province. In fact, the MEC Senzo Mchunu had repeatedly called on churches and others to help address the issue. Although the KZN department did not sign a memorandum of understanding with religious groups to address “harmful religious practices” in schools like the Gauteng Education Department did last week, Mchunu’s calls for assistance was the same, said spokesman Muzi Mahlambi.” (IOL news)
With respect to the appended material by Kurt Koch entitled Occult ABC, kindly note that the content of same has been examined critically and disproved entirely.
We wish to remind you that in South Africa, even school children have the legal right to choose to follow their religion of choice, and that Satanism is not illegal under existing law, but is in fact granted equal protection under the law as any other religion.
To this end, we urgently request that you carefully and mindfully review this inflammatory and prejudicial content on your website entitled Satanic panic grips schools, and remove said article from your website.
Should your organization fail to do so within 30 days of the date of this request, this Alliance will submit an additional complaint with the Human Rights Commission against your organization to wit knowingly promoting hate speech and publishing provably untrue propaganda against a constitutionally protected religion and its adherents.
This Alliance would be happy to engage with you in further conversation on this matter.