The ANC Women`s League (ANCWL) has described ‘corrective rape’ as a “hate crime” and called for stringent measures and legislative amendments to bring the attacks on lesbian women to an end.

In a statement issued today by Nosipho Ntwanambi, Deputy President of the ANCWL, the league said that it “noted with utter dismay the appalling incident of ‘corrective rape'” of a teen last week in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.

It also condemned other recent attacks on lesbians including the brutal murder of 24-year-old activist, Noxolo Nogwaza in Kwa-Thema in Johannesburg and 20-year-old Nokuthula Radebe in Everest Tokoza, Ekurhuleni.

“As the ANCWL, we regard ‘corrective rape’ as nothing less than a hate crime and a clear indication that women, children, gay and lesbian individuals continue to be regarded as soft targets for cowardly acts of victimisation for violence and abuse,” said the organisation.

It announced that it will ask Parliament to look at strengthening the legislative framework protecting women to criminalise corrective rape as a hate crime and called on the police to act swiftly when such incidents are reported.

The League added: “We also appeal to communities to shun with contempt those who continue to hold bigoted stereotypes and wage their vicious hateful attacks against gay and lesbian individuals, which is a clear contravention of our constitution and liberal legislative framework.”

This is the first official statement about the epidemic of attacks against lesbian women in South Africa from a branch of the ruling party.

The government recently announced that a task team will be set up to look at the issue of hate crimes against LGBT people, in particular the ‘corrective rape’ of lesbians.

South African law does not currently recognise the concept of a hate crime, in which crimes motivated by prejudice or hate against a particular group are punished with additional penalties.

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