Duduzile Zozo

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Cosatu and the DA have all condemned the brutal sexual assault and murder of lesbian Duduzile Zozo.

The half-naked body of the 26-year-old woman was discovered in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, to the east of Johannesburg, on Sunday morning. A toilet brush had been rammed into her vagina.

Zozo’s mother said she believed that Duduzile had been killed because of her sexual orientation.

On Tuesday, the province’s premier said in a statement that the murder was brutal, senseless and unacceptable.

“We urge the community to approach police with any information that will lead to the arrest of people responsible for this barbaric act, so that they can face the full might of the law,” said Mokonyane.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Zozo family. Our prayers are with you,” she added.

The country’s largest trade union Cosatu also expressed its outrage at the most recent case of homophobic violence

It demanded that “no effort be spared to arrest whoever was responsible for this despicable murder, and that the courts impose an exemplary sentence,” said spokesperson Patrick Craven.

“All South Africans must unite against such sexist, homophobic, patriarchal, racist or xenophobic attitudes, and condemns all forms of gender-based violence, which has no place in a democratic, non-sexist, non-racial, tolerant society.”

Meanwhile the DA said that it was “shocked and saddened” by the murder and accused the government of not doing enough to eradicate the scourge of violence against women, children and LGBTI people in South Africa.

“It is estimated that as many as 10 lesbians are raped or gang-raped weekly in South African and that victims of ‘corrective’ rape are less likely to report their victimisation to the police due to some of the stigmas still surrounding homosexuality,” said Helen Lamoela, DA Shadow Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

“Recent Amnesty International research also suggests that black lesbians were the most at risk of homophobic violence and that the State and society are failing to protect them,” she added.

Lamoela urged the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence to make ‘corrective’ rape a priority.

She also promised to submit parliamentary questions to the Department of Justice to query the progress of the national hate crimes task team formed over two years ago.

While the task team has failed to produce any substantial results to-date there are recent renewed efforts by both government and civil society groups to restart its work.

Dawie Nel, Director of LGBTI health and well-being group OUT, commented: “We are greatly encouraged by the renewed commitment of task team members to work and to get things done. The issue of violence against LGBTI people is urgent and we must commit to seriously address this.”

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