The City of Johannesburg has passed a motion condemning corrective rape and committing itself to fighting these attacks against lesbian women, said to be the first motion by the City to address issues directly affecting the LGBT community.
The motion was originally proposed by Councillor Gordon Mackay (DA), with additional amendments by Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe (ANC). The revised motion was passed on 24 November 2011.
Mackay’s motion highlighted one of the most recent attacks on lesbian women, “the horrific and heinous murder of 21-year-old Nontsikelelo Tyatyeka” whose decomposing body was found in a wheelie bin in the Cape in September last year.
“As a City, we must condemn this most barbaric and heinous act with the furious contempt that it deserves,” Mackay said in his speech to the City.
“We must take a stand on behalf of our sisters, our daughters and our partners. We must make it understood that hatred of any kind will not be tolerated in Africa’s greatest City; that sexism and misogyny will be exposed and that homophobia will be rejected.”
He cited unofficial statics that claim that 10 women are “correctively raped” per week in the Western Cape.
The amended motion ultimately saw the City condemning “any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation… particularly when this takes the form of a hate crime such as corrective rape”.
The City also agreed to condemn “unequivocally, the apparently increasing number of attacks on the gay and lesbian community”.
The motion further noted that a City-led task team would continue to work on sustained programmes around corrective rape throughout the year.
Mackay welcomed the passing of the revised motion.
“I am absolutely ecstatic to have this motion passed. It is the first time that the City of Johannesburg has ever considered a motion regarding sexual minorities, and this motion will go a long way in ensuring that the City has a tangible and meaningful policy response to the issue of corrective rape,” he told Mambaonline.
A notable deletion in the final motion, however, was Mackay’s call for the City to issue a statement in support of Joburg Pride, which was removed, sending a somewhat mixed message.
While the city has given Joburg Pride logistical support over the years, it has been shy to visibly back the event – the largest and oldest LGBT event on the continent.