Zoliswa Nkonyane

The trial of the men accused of murdering lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana in Khayelitsha in 2006 is underway in the Western Cape, reports the Triangle Project.

The case re-started on Monday after the more than 20 delays and postponements that led to a protest march through the streets of Cape Town in August.

Nine of the 20 men who are thought to have been involved in the stabbing to death of the 19 year-old Nkonyana just metres from her home are on trial.

Activists, family, friends and supporters packed Court C at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court to hear further testimony by Nkonyana’s friend, Phindiswa Magxala. She last testified in the trial in December last year.

Magxala, who survived the attack by the mob that allegedly murdered Nkonyana, was cross-examined by the six defence attorneys in what was described by Triangle as “a gruelling session” which lasted most of the day.

“Despite attempts by the defence to discredit her as a witness, she remained focused, bold and very brave. She articulated very clearly that they were confronted and victimised because they were out as lesbians and attacked because of their sexual orientation,” reported the organisation.

The mothers of both the victim and the witness were emotional when listening to the testimony and the cross-examination as the events of the night of the murder were recounted.

The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was present in court to monitor procedures and reiterated their commitment to ensure due process.

This came after the WC 070707 End Hate Alliance’s protests last month against the delays in the case. The DPP agreed to meet with both the State Prosecutor and defence attorneys to ensure that all parties would be prepared to proceed and that the court roll would be cleared to make the trial a priority.

The trial continues until the end of the week to hear forensic and post-mortem evidence. A further four days will be set aside in the following week to conclude the trial.

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