CAPE TOWN, South African Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha says his department is spearheading a project to help the government bring the nation's laws in line with the prescripts of the Constitution.

Briefing the the media here Wednesday ahead of tabling the department's Budget Vote in the National Assembly, he added: We are rolling out legislation to ensure that all our laws are within the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the Republic.

In this regard, the department is spearheading what is known internally as the Renaissance Project, which aims to develop a new body of law to bring our legal system which is based on Roman Dutch and English Law, fully in-line with the values and spirit of our own Constitution."

He said an example of this was the introduction last month of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill before Parliament, which aims to define and criminalise any conduct amounting to hate crimes and hate speech.

These crimes have, for a long time, divided our country. In the age of social media, offensive remarks and other forms of communications travel far, fast and wide and can be severely injurious to the national well-being, he added.

He also said that the department was working continuously to transform the judiciary to ensure that it reflected the demographics of the country. In this respect, black judges constituted 66 per cent of the 253 judges by October last year. Of these, 34 per cent of judges were women, he said.