The government has extended the deadline for public submissions on the recently published hate crimes and hate speech bill.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development announced on Wednesday that feedback on the draft legislation must now be submitted by 31 January 2017.
The original deadline was 1 December 2016. The date was moved following requests from LGBTI and human rights groups who said that more time was needed to study the bill.
The department agreed that “the public must be afforded sufficient time to ensure that once passed into legislation the bill reflects the collective wisdom of the country”.
The long-awaited Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was released to the public late last month.
The bill does not make hate crimes a new standalone kind of crime, but allows for hate motivation behind criminal acts to be given additional legal recognition.
Perhaps most controversially, the bill also formally criminalises hate speech with a fine or imprisonment for up to three years for a first offender.
To read the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, click here.