Murdered: Rulov Senekal

Pretoria-based health and well-being LGBT group OUT is setting up a task team to pressure the South African Police Service (SAPS) to take urgent action in solving the on-going murders of gay men in Gauteng.

The move follows the latest murder; that of Rulov Senekal in Braamfontein, Johannesburg this past Saturday, 25 February.

“This is urgent. The SAPS machinery needs to see it as such and we call for swift justice,” commented Dawie Nel, the Director of OUT, on Thursday.

Since 2010, at least eight gay men have been murdered in Gauteng. These murders remain unsolved and they share many similarities. All the victims were gay, they were murdered in their private homes, little or nothing was stolen, there was no sign of forced entry, and most of them were strangled.

There is a suspicion that at least some of them met their attackers through on-line or cell phone dating services.

“In our view there is a definite pattern in these murders and SAPS should investigate possible links,” said Nel.

OUT noted that there has been very little progress from SAPS in investigating these links. Moreover, there has been little progress in the cases generally.

The organisation said that it had followed up with the relevant SAPS investigating officers in specific cases, and has been met with resistance to investigating possible links.

Some of the victims’ family members have also struggled to get information from investigating officers. Because of SAPS resistance and lack of progress, one victim’s family has hired a private investigator in an effort to ensure justice.

OUT has now formed a task team to actively follow up with the specific SAPS stations and their commissioners as well as taking the issue further on a provincial level and with the Independent Complaints Directorate.

At the same time, the group has started an awareness campaign among gay men around the dangers of letting strangers into their homes.

“Gay men suffer greatly in our society; one that promises equality on the basis of sexual orientation. OUT will continue our monitoring of the progress in these cases to ensure a fair, just and equitable society,” said Nel.

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