A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Lesley Makousa, a 17-year-old LGBT Potchefstroom school pupil.
Constable Trom from the Ikageng SAPS told Mambaonline that the 32-year-old suspect had appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
The man was identified by witnesses who saw him with Makousa, who was openly gay. Police have also accused the man of stealing an electrical stove and oven appliance from the youngster’s home.
“He was the last person to be seen with Lesley from Friday until the early hours of Saturday morning,” said Trom. “They knew each other very well as it seems they were comfortable with each other.” The suspect has been charged with murder and housebreaking.
Makousa’s body, lying face down, was discovered by a passerby in an isolated area of the Promosa Township on Saturday 6 August. He had been strangled with a shoelace. Contrary to some reports, Trom said that an autopsy had revealed no sign of rape.
Police are still investigating possible motives for the murder, in addition to robbery, with Trom commenting that the suspect is not cooperating. Makousa was laid to rest on Saturday.
In a statement, the group Iranti-org pointed out that South Africa “still has no hate crimes legislation to guide the South African Police Services on how to identify and prosecute hate crimes”.
Wanelisa Xaba, Advocacy Coordinator, explained that, as a result, “one has to rely on individual subjective understandings of what constitutes a hate crime therefore most cases are treated as just murder cases”.
The Love Not Hate campaign said that it was shocked at the news of attack. “We send our condolences to Lesley’s family, friends, schoolmates and community,” said Lerato Phalakatshela, Hate Crime Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being and spokesperson for the campaign.
He urged anyone who has any information about Makousa’s murder to contact him on email@example.com.