About Us

The Free Speech Union of South Africa (FSU SA) has been established because of the rise of cancel culture and intolerance of free speech in South African society.

Despite the constitutionally enshrined right to free speech, Section 16(1)) of the Constitution as limited by Section 16(2), many commentators, social media users and institutions often infringe upon those rights.

We believe that the expanded strictures on speech contained in the The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 (Pepuda or Equality Act) narrows the exercise of free speech, even if that speech may be distasteful or offensive.

Vitriol is spewed on social media and people are constantly compelled to ‘obey’ a narrative with which they don’t agree. People are shamed for holding a different view and racism allegations are made glibly which can have devastating effects on a person’s career or status at an institution.

Strictures on free speech are increasingly being experienced in the context of schools and universities where Critical Race Theory, Critical Gender Theory or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are being inserted into curricula.

We will assess and advise on whether legal action is appropriate to deal with any given situation. We have a team of lawyers who will provide their expertise. Taking formal legal action will depend upon FSU SA having the resources to do so and whether legal action has a reasonable chance of success.

In contrast, exercising the right to free speech does bring with it the obligation not to defame anyone. We don’t believe that hate speech, or any other type of speech, should be criminalised. Victims, however, may be able to challenge defamation legally.

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© Free Speech Union SA 2021