Faizel Patel – 28/07/2021
A senior associate at Werksmans Attorneys says while people have the right to express their freedom of expression, they cannot do so in a manner that may incite any violence against anyone.
Zamathiyane Mthiyane was speaking to Radio Islam on Tuesday about the implications of spreading incitement to commit violence in the recent deadly riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
With the recent public unrest and public violence that brought parts of the two provinces to a standstill as rioters looted, thrashed and torched businesses, malls vehicles, trucks, schools and infra-structure, President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to prosecute the perpetrators, including the inciters on social media.
Mthiyane says it does not matter what the intention was of a person sending a message on social media inciting violence, but rather the implications of the text.
“It doesn’t matter what your mindset was when you sent that communication or wrote that post down. All that matters is what the reasonable person who read that post, what that person understood from that message which is a very dangerous line.”
Mthiyane says there may be consequence for people who forward or share “as received” messages and posts
“If you by just forwarding or retweeting something, you yourself even if you haven’t written it down, you are also making that post publicly available on the internet. So yes you may have not written it down, but you are also sharing those views on a public platform.”
Mthiyane says people should understand the gravity of a message and if it is deemed to be intended to perpetrate incitement to commit violence should rather delete it or inform authorities as opposed to forwarding message and implicating themselves in the process.
Listen to the interview with Zamathiyane Mthiyane