Activists are calling on the National Director of Public Prosecutions to oppose bail for the man accused of murdering openly lesbian Noluvo Swelindawo (also known as Vovo).
Signice Mdani, 24, is accused of being part of a mob that attacked and abducted Swelindawo, 22, from her home in Driftsands, near Khayelitsha.
It is alleged that he later shot her dead and dumped her body next to the N2 highway, under a footbridge.
In an online petition addressed to the National Director, LGBTI and other groups argue that releasing Mdani into the community will disturb public order by undermining public peace and security.
“It will be viewed as jeopardising public confidence in the criminal justice system and place fear in the LGBTI community of Driftsands,” they say. The groups also warn that if the suspect is granted bail he could flee the province and may not be easy to re-arrest.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for Mdani to stay behind bars during the trial is that he lives in the same area as witnesses, and they and the local LGBTI community fear being intimidated.
“This is a serious crime that has taken away the life of a person in the prime of her life,” noted the groups. “Gender based violence and hate has no place within our society and Vovo’s friends and family do not need to live in fear with the alleged killer walking and living amongst them.”
On December 3, a group of up to 11 men broke into Swelindawo’s home at night and dragged her away. Her body was found the next day with a gunshot wound.
Thus far, only Mdani has been arrested and charged with house breaking, intent to assault, kidnapping and Swelindawo’s murder. His bail hearing is set for 21 December.
Swelindawo will be buried in her home town of Lady Frere, in the Eastern Cape, on Saturday, 17 December.
To sign the petition opposing bail for Mdani, click here.