Public comments on PEPUDA bill pouring in as June 30 deadline approaches

South Africans are responding in numbers to calls from the religious community and civil society to take action against a serious threat to religious freedom and freedom of opinion by commenting on the controversial PEPUDA Amendment Bill 

So much so that last Friday the Department of Justice email address designated for receiving public comments was out of action — apparently because the department was caught by surprise by the high volume of submissions. 

But Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) reported on Monday that the department has confirmed that the email glitch has been resolved and Individuals and organisations could therefore continue to send their submissions to fbhayat@justice.gov.za before June 30.

Alternatively you can submit your comments on the Dear South Africa website at https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/equality.

Submissions on the Dear South Africa platform which make it quick and easy to submit your response to the department have been surging this week and are approaching 48 000 at the time of posting this report. With six days for submissions left plus an unknown but reportedly significant number of submissions already emailed directly to the department, it seems likely that a total of 50 000 submissions will be exceeded. Surely enough to assure the department that South Africans — especially the religious community — are unhappy with the proposed amendments to the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act?

Among concerns highlighted by those calling for the faith community to push back against the bill are broadening the definition of equality and discrimination; state funding of legal costs of those claiming discrimination — which would not be missed by activists who already use the existing law to target the faith community; liability for unintended offending of someone’s dignity and for things your employees say and do.

FOR SA, have have posted a number of informative articles and videos on their website ( https://forsa.org.za/) listing their grave concerns about the amendment bill.

Also view video clip in which ACDP MP and attorney Steve Swart shares his views on the bill: https://fb.watch/6lbsCAfDzK/

Former ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley has also posted her opinion on a Christian response to the bill on her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/cheryllyn.verdondudley/posts/10219595096016027

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