The Joint Working Group (JWG) has called for justice to be served in the resumption of the troubled murder trials of those accused of killing two young lesbians, Eudy Simelane and Zoliswa Nkonyana.
The JWG pointed out the irony in the fact that the trials will restart within a short time of recent reports about the new National Interfaith Leadership Council and its plans to roll back progressive legislation on same-sex marriage and abortion.
“It is obscene that at a time when LGBTI people are facing ever increasing levels of abuse and violence at the hands of society, anyone would suggest removing what legal and constitutional protection does exist,” said the JWG.
The Simelane case will return to the Delmas Circuit Court – following months of delays and postponements – on the 21st and 22nd of September for final arguments and judgement of the three men standing trial for the rape and murder of the lesbian soccer player.
In July, the case was turned on its head when the man who had pleaded guilty to murdering Simelane and agreed to be a state witness against his three co-accused, told the court that he had previously lied in his testimony and claimed that they were in fact innocent.
“It is vital that the case be wrapped up over the two days set down so that Eudy’s family and community can begin to move on,” said the JWG.
A pride march in honour of Simelane and Girly Nkosi, another lesbian activist killed in the same area just a few weeks ago, will be held this Saturday in the streets of Kwa Thema.
On the 28th of September the men accused of brutally murdering teenager Nkonyana will appear in court in Khayeleitsha once again. It is the first hearing in this much-postponed case since mass protests over the delays in the trial were held in Cape Town in August.
“Although the case was for legal reasons not moved to the High Court as protesters had demanded, a number of commitments were made by the relevant authorities around ensuring this case moved ahead without further delays. The 28th will be the first opportunity to see if these commitments will indeed be honoured,” said the JWG.
The organisation added that its members and those of the 070707 Campaign to End Hate Crimes will be out in force at both trials demanding justice for Simelane and Nkonyana and an end to homophobic violence.