The late Gift (Disebo) Makau

Groups have slammed the murder of lesbian teen Gift Makau while her alleged attacker is ordered to appear in court again next week.

The body of the 24-year-old was discovered in Tshing, Ventersdorp last week Friday with her hands tied behind her back and a running hosepipe shoved down her throat into her stomach. She had been raped and strangled with a wire.

According to Platinum Weekly, her mother had to be pulled away from the lifeless body as she desperately tried to revive her daughter in vain.

A 24-year-old man, named as Stoffel Botlhokwane, appeared in the Ventersdorp Magistrates’ Court in connection with the murder on Monday. The case was postponed to next Monday, 25 August, for a bail hearing.

OUT LGBT Well-being in Pretoria sent its condolences to Makau’s family and welcomed the arrest of the suspect, describing it as “a positive sign amidst this unspeakable tragedy.”

OUT Health Manager Johan Meyer called for a “thorough and speedy investigation and trial in the case. Justice must not be delayed for Gift.”

Added Meyer: “Yet another member of our LGBT community has fallen victim to a deadly hate crime, an act that has no place in South Africa, especially after 20 years of democracy. Gift’s appalling murder was committed during women’s month, highlighting the precarious state of gender and sexual orientation equality in many of our communities.”

COSATU also angrily condemned Makau’s rape and murder in a media statement.

“It is outrageous that we still witness such shocking acts in this twenty first century…” said the trade union. “COSATU insists that members of the gay and lesbian community must have exactly the same rights as every other South African to choose who to love and have relationships with and to live in peace and safety.”

It called for the perpetrator to be given “a harsh sentence as a way of expressing South Africans’ disgust at such despicable acts.”

The Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) has advised that the Ventersdorp LGBTI community will protest Makau’s murder on Thursday morning at Tshing Location, extension 2, sports fields. This will be followed by a memorial service at 15:00 at the community hall.

The young woman’s funeral will be held this Saturday at her home. Messages of support to her family, which will be read at the memorial service, can be posted on the FEW Facebook page.

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