Zoliswa Nkonyana

The sentencing of the four men found guilty of murdering lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana has been postponed for the second time in a trial that has seen more than 40 postponements over five years.

In October, Lubabalo Ntlabathi, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Londzi and Mbulelo Damba were found guilty of stoning and stabbing 19-year-old Nkonyana to death in 2006 in Khayelitsha, because she was a lesbian.

On Tuesday, magistrate Raadiya Whaten postponed their sentencing again in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court, this time because a report from correctional services had not been submitted in time.

They are now expected to be sentenced on 19 December.

The trial has been characterised by bureaucratic bungling and delays. In September last year, four of the accused escaped from the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court but were later recaptured.

Five of the original nine men who were charged with Nkonyana’s murder have been acquitted due to lack of evidence, a fact that activists link to shoddy police work and the effect of five years of delays on witnesses.

Nkonyana was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by a group of around 20 men in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape on 4 February 2006 – just meters from her home – for being a lesbian.

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