The continued delays in the Zoliswa Nkonyana hate crime trial have been condemned by the Western Cape Alliance for the End Hate Campaign.
The start of the trial of the nine men accused of killing 19-year old Nkonyana was again delayed and postponed to December 5, on Tuesday, due to the non-appearance of one of the accused at the Khayelitsha Regional Court in Cape Town.
Activists from the Western Cape Alliance for the End Hate Campaign say that they are furious that evidence pertinent to the case could not be presented by the State Prosecutor.
“This case has been before this court since December 2006 and has been postponed a total of 23 times due to ‘delay tactics’ by the accused and their defence attorneys,” said the alliance in a statement. “This travesty of justice will not be tolerated any further.”
The alliance said that it has formally requested the Commission for Gender Equality, which is monitoring the case, to forward letters of protest and complaint to the Law Society; the Department of Justice and the Legal Bar Association for investigation.
The chief state witness, a friend who was with Zoliswa when she was murdered but escaped from the mob, has waited for more than two years to testify in court. The young woman, who is writing her Matric exams, has reportedly been threatened by one of the accused, resulting in his bail being revoked on Tuesday.
“We demand justice for the family of Zoliswa, and for the chief state witness who is currently under an enormous amount of emotional pressure having to relive this traumatic experience over and over,” said Cape Town’s Triangle Project.
“Together with the Alliance partners, we remain committed and determined to exert pressure on the state to ensure that justice is guaranteed for her gruesome murder by the mob of 20 youths.”
Nkonyana was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by a group of around 20 men in Khayelitsha on 4 February 2006 – reportedly for being a lesbian.