Press release: Launch of the Free Speech Union of South Africa - 30 June 2022

We are pleased to announce the formation of the Free Speech Union of South Africa (FSU -SA). Free speech is the bedrock supporting all other individual rights and freedoms.

Launch of the Free Speech Union South Africa

The Institute of Race Relations is proud to announce the formation of the Free Speech Union South Africa (FSU SA). 

FSU SA is associated with FSU UK, which was founded in 2020 to advocate for free speech in light of increasing incidents of free speech being curtailed in universities and workplaces, the ‘cancellation’ of individuals due to comments made on social media, and the introduction of legislation directly infringing free speech.  

South Africa has constitutional protection of free speech through Section 16(2) of the Constitution which provides that the only limits to free speech are that it may not amount to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

These provisions are, in our view, appropriately limited, allowing very little restriction on free speech. However, The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000 increases the grounds on which free speech can be limited.

The proposed Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will criminalise hate speech with penalties of up to three years in jail.

The FSU SA believes that insulting, offensive and hurtful speech should not be restricted by legislation. No one has the right not to be insulted or hurt; that doesn’t mean that such offensive speech shouldn’t be vigorously challenged. 

The FSU SA will promote free speech, criticise restrictions of it and assist, where possible, anyone whose freedom of speech and freedom of opinion is under attack, or anyone whose employment by or membership of an institution has been terminated because of the exercise of free speech.

The curtailment of free speech is particularly apparent in our educational institutions and is only beginning to be challenged. 

There is work to be done!

Media contact: Sara Gon, Director FSU SA  – 083 555 7952; info@fsu-sa.org

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

In association with

© Free Speech Union SA 2021