Tshwane-based LGBT group OUT Well-being has slated the ongoing inaction and apparent lack of interest by the police in solving the murders of eight gay men in Gauteng.

In February, OUT formed its own task team, consisting of OUT as well as friends and families of the victims, to help ensure justice in the murders of the men.

OUT said on Friday, that its task team had provided information to the SAPS on relevant facts related to the attacks, but that the police never responded to these initiatives.

“From the beginning of OUT’s involvement, we expressed our willingness to SAPS to assist. They were not interested, in spite of all the valuable information we can provide on the gay community and the murders,” commented Dawie Nel, the Director of OUT.

“The lack of progress in these cases, which stretch as far back as two and a half years, is yet another example of how the South African State increasingly fails more and more people.”

Nel suggested that homo-prejudice within the SAPS could also be playing a role.

“It seems that gay people are not that important, their lives are cheap. Families are suffering, our communities are suffering and the police do not do their job and there are no consequences. It is heartbreaking,” said Nel.

On Tuesday last week, in response to questions by the DA in Parliament, the Minister of Police stated that there is a common perpetrator, known as Tony Boy, in four of the cases.

This includes Boy being the suspect in the murder of Siphiwe Nhlapo in Soweto in September last year, where another suspect by the name of Nhlanhla Msimango was in March 2012 identified as the main suspect. It is unclear if there are two suspects in the Kliptown, Soweto case or if there is one suspect with two names being identified by the police.

OUT urged the SAPS to clarify who the suspect is in the Kliptown case and in the other three linked cases, noting that it took the parliamentary process to extract the latest vital information from the police.

“This information has never been previously provided to the public. OUT believes that the police must be more transparent and provide more information on the suspect as this could help gay men – the target of the attacker – to take precautions. This could help save people’s lives.”

OUT called on the SAPS to finally act and to gather all outstanding information in the investigations, including forensic reports that have reportedly still not been completed.

The murders of gay men began with Manolis Veloudos, who was killed in April 2010. He was followed by Jim Cathels in Berea in December 2010; Oscar O’Hara (33) in May 2011; a 47-year-old un-named landlord in Northcliff in August 2011; Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo (36) in Soweto in September 2011; Barney van Heerden (39) in Orange Grove, also in September 2011; HIV/Aids activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar (39) in his Pretoria West home in December 2011; and finally Rulov Senekal in February 2012.

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