Duduzile Zozo

As the government and the hate crime task team step in, the grieving mother of murdered lesbian Duduzile Zozo has spoken of how her fears for her daughter’s safety have come true.

The half-naked body of the 26-year-old woman was discovered in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, to the east of Johannesburg, on Sunday morning. 

To add to the horror, a toilet brush had been rammed into her vagina.

Speaking to The Star newspaper on Wednesday, the young woman’s grieving mother, Thuziwe Zozo, said: “When you see reports on the killings of gay children, you get scared and start worrying. ‘Maybe one day this will also happen to her’, you think.

“And in the blink of an eye my child was killed.”

She went on to say: “Parents with gay children will now be scared, and what can they do? They can’t change their children. The government is the one with the power and it must clarify to people that gay people are human beings too.”

Also on Wednesday, senior officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) were sent to Thokoza to meet with local police to establish the progress made in the investigation.

The officials were accompanied by members of civil society groups, including FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women), who form part of the National Task Team mandated to develop urgent interventions to combat crimes against LGBTI people.

According to a statement, the Station Commander assured the officials that the case was being prioritised and that a senior detective officer has been appointed to investigate the case.

A task team was also established at the Thokoza Police Station, comprising police officers, community policing forum members as well as members from the community.

“This urgent intervention is directed at finding information that will assist in tracking the perpetrator(s) of this heinous crime,” said the DOJ&CD.

Representatives from the DOJ&CD and civil society also visited Zozo’s family and extended condolences on behalf of the Department and the National Task Team. “The family was assured of government’s commitment to the fight against crime, including hate crimes,” said the statement.

FEW, however, expressed concern, noting that there have been at least two other cases of hate crimes against lesbians in Thokoza that have been reported but have not yet been solved.

On Facebook, the organisation said that it spoke to outraged members of the community who claimed that while Zozo’s body was found in the morning it was only collected after 5.30pm.

“The women of Thokoza stated that they are tired of the justice system failing them and advised that they feel as though they must take the matter into their own hands,” said FEW.

“They reiterated the fact that any time a gay, lesbian, intersex or transgendered person is killed, nothing is done. However, when a heterosexual person experiences the same thing, all resources are pulled together to finalise the case and ensure that justice is served.”

FEW said that the community had marched to the Thokoza Police Station on Wednesday to demand justice and to put pressure on the police. They sang “UDuduzile akalele, uguqe ngamadolo” (“Duduzile is waiting for justice”).

A memorial service and community meeting for Zozo will be held at the Mkhathizwe Primary School in Thokoza, at 5pm today. For more information please contact call Busi on 079 089 8896.

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