Objection to PEPUDA Amendment Bill
The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Amendment Bill (PEPUDA)
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has issued a paper for public comment entitled: “The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Amendment Bill (“the Bill”) which will have far reaching consequences and implications for Muslims, in particular, and on all religious communities, in general. The Bill seeks to amendment the existing Act (i.e. the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, No. 4 of 2000, otherwise known as “PEPUDA” or “the Equality Act”). The amendments will drastically compromise freedom of religion in South Africa if it is passed into law in its current form.
If the Bill is adopted in its current form, the State will have the right to, effectively, disallow certain beliefs and practices that it deems to be discriminatory or against a pre-determined definition of equality. It may for example, inhibit the right of an Imam to criticize, censure or speak out against practices deemed sinful and vile in Islam like same sex marriages. In such an instance, the State will not only hold the Imam liable but also the committee responsible for the affairs of the masjid.
The Bill will allow the state to prescribe what may or what may not be said, published or propagated. The Bill will also allow the State to decide what we, as Muslims, may or may not do as an expression of our beliefs and religious values. This is tantamount to State regulation of religion which flies in the face of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. It is quite foreseeable that people and institutions of faith will be dragged before Court simply because someone does not like, does not agree with, or is offended by the expression of our religious convictions and beliefs.
We appeal to individuals, masaajid / Masjid committees/organizations to object to the proposed amendments by using the relevant templates for organisations and individuals. The closing date for submissions is the 30 June 2021.
We trust that you appreciate the importance of adopting a united front in the defense of Islam.
Yusuf Patel (Moulana)
7 June 2021
For record purposes kindly forward a copy of your submission to: [email protected]