Nationality‚ sexual orientation and religion were the top three reasons behind hate crimes in South Africa‚ the Hate Crimes Working Group revealed on Thursday.
At 59%‚ the research revealed that most victims of hate crime were black or African.
Most of these victims‚ were however‚ non-South African nationals‚ the group said.
“Less than half (42%) of victims were born in South Africa. Twenty-eight percent originated from an East African country and 18% originated from a Central African country‚” the report by the group read.
Men were the greatest victims of hate crimes‚ accounting for 68% of the victims interviewed.
Thirty-five percent of hate crimes were directed at lesbian or gay individuals while one percent of the victims were bisexual.
The workplace was the most common place where hate crimes occurred.
“Victims other than the primary reporting victims were most often (49%) colleagues or co-workers‚ mostly in cases perpetrated against non-nationals as tuck‚ barber and hair salon shops were often targeted‚” the group said in its research.
“Family members represented 28% of cases‚ with children being present in 27 of these cases or friends (23%) of the primary victim.”
In most of the cases (34%)‚ the perpetrator of a hate crime was known to his victim and only in 32% of the cases‚ was the perpetrator unknown to the victim.
Police officers‚ public officials or government employees‚ doctors and nurses as well as teachers also featured as perpetrators of hate crime.
HCWG conducted the research based on 945 cases it investigated over a five-year period.
It focused its research on the three top thriving provinces – Gauteng‚ Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – and two of the less developed provinces‚ the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.
Of these five provinces‚ the Eastern Cape accounted for the bulk of the hate crime at 27%‚ followed by the Western Cape (26%) and Gauteng at 20%.
The group on Thursday launched a petition calling for the Minister of Justice to push forward the Hate Crimes Bill into law.
Sanja Bornman who heads the group said bill was introduced in November 2016‚ but to date‚ there had been no action.
“[The bill] may not be perfect but it should enter legislative process … We as the people of South Africa should have a say into what it looks like‚” she said.
The petition was available on the group’s website.
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