South Africa hit by a wave of gay and transgender murders

Victims of hate crimes Lindokuhle Mapu and Khulekani Gomazi

A wave of brutal murders of gay men and trans women hit South Africa. The death toll in the past three months has now reached at least ten known people.

The youngest victims were 23-year-old gay man Lindokuhle Mapu and 27-year-old trans woman Khulekani Gomazi. Police and government officials have been widely criticized for failing to prosecute the killers and for protecting the LGBTQI + community.

A coalition of over 30 South African LGBTQI + groups and allied civil society organizations has called for action from Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Ronald Lamola.

At a meeting between the coalition and Lamola on May 5, the minister admitted that the National Task Team, Rapid Response Team and Provincial Task Teams, which the division oversees and aims to tackle hate crimes, are inoperable. He also confirmed that only 2.4 million R2 (US $ 220,000) of the 26 million R2 (US $ 2.4 million) allocated to hate crime strategies have been allocated.

The coalition has called for:

  • the urgent introduction of the belatedly belated law to prevent and combat hate crimes and hate speech
  • that a targeted LGBTQI + program is urgently introduced as part of strategies to combat hate crime
  • that the South African Police Service will be held accountable for its lack of engagement in strategies to combat hate crimes
  • the establishment of a task force against hate crimes in the European Union / South Africa

To put pressure on the government, LGBTIQ + groups and allies have published the names of victims of homosexual / transsexual murder:

  • Bonang Gaelae, 29, whose throat was slit on February 12 in Sebokeng.
  • Nonhlanhla Kunene, 37, whose body was found half-naked on March 5th in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Sphamandla Khoza, 34, was beaten, stabbed and cut in the throat on March 29 in Kwamashu, Durban.
  • Nathaniel ‘Spokgoane’ Mbele, who was stabbed in the chest on April 2nd in Tshirela, Vanderbijlpark.
  • Khulekani Gomazi, 27, who was beaten to death on April 3 in Mpophomeni, KwaZulu-Natal. Gomazi’s body also showed signs of being pulled by a car.
  • Andile ‘Lulu’ Nthuthela, 41, whose mutilated and burned body was found on April 10 in KwaNobuhle, Kariega.
  • Lonwabo Jack, a young LGBTIQ + who just celebrated his 22nd birthday on April 17th. His lifeless body was found on a sidewalk in Nyanga, Cape Town, the next day.
  • Lucky Little Boy Motshabi, 30, whose body was found in a field in Dennilton town, Limpopo on April 24th. He was naked with stab wounds on his body.
  • Phelokazi Mqathana, 24, who was stabbed to death over the weekend of May 1st in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. It was reported that a man stabbed her after she refused his advances.
  • Lindokuhle Mapu, 23, who was stabbed to death on May 9 in Mfuleni, outside Cape Town.

The coalition of LGBTIQ + groups and allies has given the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development until May 31st to respond to their demands.

Robyn Kennedy is Vice President Global Outreach and Partnership for InterPride, the international association of Pride organizers.

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