Mutilated and throat slit: Thapelo Makhutle

The South African National AIDS Council Women’s Sector (SANACWS) has condemned the brutal murders of LGBTI people in South Africa, asking “are we being complicit in our silence”?

In a statement, SANACWS described the recent spate of vicious attacks against LGBTI South Africans as a “troubling trend”.

“These cases are highlighting the ever increasing brutality that openly lesbian women, gay men and transgender people are exposed to across South Africa. It happens under the absence of social outrage and political will [to take action],” said SANAC Women’s Sector Chairperson Mmapaseka “Steve” Letsike.

“The recent murders in Cape Town, Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape amongst other provinces form part of an ever increasing physical and sexual violent response to already marginalised groups in South Africa.

“The motive of this type of murder is understood to be driven by hatred and intolerance of difference centred around their perceived sexual orientation and gender,” said Letsike.

The organisation noted that while it continues to advocate for hate crime legislation to be enacted in South Africa, it believes that society as a whole needs to play a role in ensuring that “the constitutional rights of all South African citizens are protected, promoted, and fulfilled by the government”.

Letsike added that “the continued treatment of LGBTI people as second class citizens in our country of birth is a shameful reflection on the government… and a disgrace in a country that seeks to provide regional international leadership on LGBTI policies”.

Shot dead: Sanna Supa

SANACWS called on the government to condemn the recent murders of LGBTI people in South Africa, to put measures in place to end hate based homophobic violence and to accelerate public education and sensitisation on these issues.

The South African National AIDS Council is composed of both government and civil society organisations and was formed in 2000 to strengthen the country’s response to HIV and AIDS.

The last month has seen the murder of Thapelo Makhutle, the 24-year-old gay/trans individual who was mutilated and murdered in the Northern Cape; Neil Daniels, who was stabbed and set alight in Cape Town; 22-year-old Phumeza Nkolonzi from Nyanga, Cape Town, who was shot three times by a man who burst into her home; the killing of 28-year-old Sanna Supa in Braamficherville, Soweto; and the stabbing to death of 29-year-old Hendrietta Thapelo Morifi (Andritha) in Mokopane, Limpopo.

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