Family’s dismay as Lerato Moloi trial moved without notice

Lerato Moloi

Activists are furious after the trial of the men accused of murdering Gauteng lesbian Lerato Moloi was moved to a different court, without notifying her family.

The 27-year-old was killed in Naledi Ext, Soweto in May. It’s believed that she was raped, stabbed and stoned with large rocks in a suspected hate crime.

Moloi was killed just days before starting a new job. When she left her home on the night of her murder to socialise at a nearby tavern, she promised her aunt that she’d buy her a Mother’s Day gift when she got her first pay cheque. It was a promise she never had the opportunity to keep.

Pictures of Moloi’s shattered body were shared widely on social media, depriving her further of dignity and humanity after her death.

Two men were arrested in connection with Moloi’s murder. Their trial was meant to start on Monday, at the Johannesburg High Court.

However, when Moloi’s family and activists from around Gauteng arrived at the court, they were informed that the trial had been moved to the Palmridge High Court in Tokoza, East of Johannesburg.

“The family was not notified of these changes,” said activists from OUT LGBT Well-being, Rainbow Activist Alliance (RAA), Access Chapter 2 (AC2) and Actionaid South Africa in a joint statement. They argued that the development was a reminder of how the “justice system of South Africa continues to fail queer bodies and queer lives.”

The trial has faced repeated delays and was postponed back in August, when it was moved from the Protea Magistrate’s Court to the High Court.

The activists have accused the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Provincial Task Team (PTT) of not priorising the case and of not following up on the trial.

“The case was remanded for Wednesday the 5th of December 2018 and at this point we are not sure if the trial will continue and we await feedback from the prosecution by Wednesday,” said the groups. “The prioritisation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) cases and human rights by the criminal justice system remains questioned to this date in South Africa,” they added.

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