The late Duduzile Zozo
Duduzile Zozo’s family’s hope that justice for the raped and murdered young lesbian was in the offing was dashed on Monday.
The trial of the man accused of strangling and raping Zozo with a toilet brush has been postponed by another five months.
The 26-year-old openly lesbian woman’s brutalised body was found in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg, in June last year.
Her alleged murderer, Lesley Motleleng, 22, was meant to stand trial at the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday, but Judge Geraldine Borchers frustratingly postponed the matter until late October.
According to The Star, Judge Borchers explained that she took the decision because she is in the midst of another long trial and there are no other judges available. She promised to next prioritise Motleleng’s case.
The state claims that in the early hours of Sunday 30 June, Motleleng, Zozo’s neighbour, was walking her home from a tavern when he professed his love for her and asked to kiss her.
She rejected him, but Motleleng allegedly forcibly kissed her. He’s accused of strangling her when she said that she would tell her brother about the kiss. After she was unconscious, it’s alleged that he raped her vaginally and anally with the toilet brush.
Motleleng was arrested almost four months after the attack. It was later revealed that he had taken part in a vigil the night before Zozo’s funeral and even comforted her grieving family.
The shocking news of the delay was not well received by LGBTI and gender activist organisations that gathered at the court to demand justice for Zozo.
“It’s really frustrating. I’m feeling angry, the groups are feeling angry,” Phindi Malaza, Advocacy Officer at the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), told Mambaonline.
LGBTI and gender activist groups demand justice for Zozo outside the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on Monday (Pic: FEW)
“It’s really unfair that these kinds of cases aren’t given a priority. It’s discouraging and makes us lose our faith in the criminal justice system,” she said.
Last month, the government announced that a “Rapid Response Team” had been set up to monitor and fast track pending and reported LGBTI related hate crimes in the criminal justice system.
The latest delay in the trial of Zozo’s alleged murdered would seem to be an urgent matter for the Rapid Response Team to attend to, and could serve as a test of its credibility.
Malaza said that some organisations were considering protesting against the delay and FEW would contact the Department of Justice to see if there is some way to advance the case.
“The family are also very disappointed,” she said. “They were looking at getting some kind of justice, instead that have to wait even longer. It’s not a good space to have to be in a court room with someone that murdered your daughter. It’s really unfair.”