The trial of the men accused of murdering South African lesbian soccer player, Eudy Simelane, is expected to come to an end this week after 15 months of delays and postponements, say LGBT and gender activists.
This comes after the state wrapped up its case at the end of July.
The three accused, Khumbulane Magagula, Johannes Mahlangu and Themba Mvubu, are set to begin presenting their defence today at the Delmas Circuit Court. They face charges of robbing, raping and murdering Simelane.
During the last proceedings in the trial it was alleged that Mvubu and Mpithi master-minded Simelane’s ordeal. The pants that Mvubu wore on the day Simelane was murdered were discovered the next day with her blood found close to the front zip. Magagula and Mahlangu are alleged to have been part of the pre-meditated robbery that led to rape and murder.
Simelane’s body was discovered with multiple stab wounds on 28 April 2008 in Kwa-Thema, Ekurhuleni on Johannesburg’s East Rand. The rape and murder are believed to have been prompted by homophobia.
“Activists, family and friends will once gather inside and outside the Delmas Court expecting the verdict by the end of this week. Regardless of the outcome, it will be an important moment for closure of this chapter and reviving other initiatives to raise consciousness on violence, hate crimes, stigma and exclusion suffered by LGBT people,” wrote the 777 Campaign to End Hate in a statement.