A man has been found guilty of the strangling killing of 16-year-old gay Potchefstroom school pupil, Lesley Makousa.
On Friday, David Shomolekae was sentenced by the Potchefstroom High Court to life imprisonment for the murder of the Grade 10 learner.
The 31-year-old was the day before found guilty on three charges, including murder, robbery and housebreaking.
Shomolekae strangled Makousa to death with a shoelace and stole his phone and house key.
He then entered the youth’s home where he took a stove and phone belonging to Makousa’s mother, Pamela.
In addition to the life sentence, Shomolekae was also sentenced to 15 years for robbery and 6 years for housebreaking and theft. The sentences were welcomed with a roar of approval from Makousa’s family and friends and members of the community in court.
Thabiso Mogapi wa Tsotetsi, Chairperson of Action For Social Justice International, told Mambaonline he was very satisfied with the outcome of the case.
“This should send a strong message that the LGBT community needs to be respected and their rights need to be respected,” said Tsotetsi.
Tsotetsi, who testified in the case about the vulnerability of LGBT people in the area, believes that Makousa’s sexuality played a part in his killing. He explained that while the killer never admitted to the murder in court, evidence was introduced that he told other inmates that he killed “a crippled gay boy”.
Makousa’s body, lying face down, was discovered by a passerby in an isolated area of the Promosa Township on Saturday 6 August 2016.
His uncle, Frans Makousa, last year described the teen as “a quiet, obedient, humble person who was an active member of the Nazarene Church”.
“He was a people’s darling and could mingle easily with anyone. What I also loved about him was that, if something bad had happened, he would try and talk to you and come up with solutions to rectify it,” he told the Potchefstroom Herald.
Makousa said his nephew had ambitions of working in fashion and dreamed of one day dressing celebrities for red carpet events.
Potchefstroom has been the site of a number of recent attacks against members of the LGBT community. In April, a 22-year-old young lesbian woman was attacked by three men while she was talking on her phone outside her home in Mohadin. She was dragged to a stretch of veld, where they assaulted her. Two of the men took turns to rape her.
In November 2015, 35-year-old music student Bobby Motlatla was stabbed 39 times in his Potchefstroom flat. That killing remains unsolved.