The Joint Working Group (JWG), which represents the majority of LGBT community organisations in South Africa, says that it is shocked and deeply saddened by the brutal murder of former Banyana Banyana player Eudy Simelane.
Simelane was assaulted, raped and murdered by five men in the Tornado section of Kwa Thema in the East Rand on Monday morning. Five men have been arrested for her murder and made their first court appearance on Wednesday.
In a statement, the JWG said that it is “appalled at this brutality of this attack and send our condolences and solidarity to the friends and family of Eudy at this terrible time.”
“We are deeply concerned that this is the latest in an increasing trend of violence aimed at black lesbian women and growing prejudice and discrimination being experienced by people on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” it added.
It has called on all JWG members, allies, LGBTI people and members of wider society to take a stand against hate crime and discrimination.
“We call on the justice system to send a message that they take this issue seriously by denying bail to individuals accused of rape and murder. We further demand that community, government and religious leaders in Kwa Thema and throughout South Africa stand up and speak out on the issue of hate crime.”
A memorial service will be held for Simelane at the Central Methodist Church in Kwa Thema on 1 May at 2 p.m. Her funeral will be held at the Great Hall at the Kwa Thema Civic Centre on Sunday 4 May at 8 a.m.
The next court appearance of the five men accused of her murder will be on Monday 5 May at 9 a.m. at the Springs Magistrates Court.
The JWG has invited those who wish to show solidarity with Simelane and the struggle against violence and hate to attend one or more of these events.