Case delayed as activists demand justice for lesbian hate crime victim Lerato Tambai Moloi


Pic: Mbuso Ngubane – ActionAid

A group of activists demonstrated outside the Protea Magistrate’s Court in Soweto on Wednesday to demand justice for slain lesbian Lerato Tambai Moloi.

The half naked body of the 27-year-old woman was found in Naledi Ext, Soweto in May.

It’s believed that she was raped, stabbed and stoned with large rocks in a suspected hate crime.

Two men who have been arrested in connection with her murder appeared in court on Wednesday, prompting members of Activista, the Rainbow Activist Alliance (RAA) and the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) to attend the hearing.

The activists danced and chanted outside the court, calling for swift action against Moloi’s alleged killers. “We want to see harsh sentences for the suspects,” said Jade Madingwane, FEW’s Programmes Assistant.

RAA and FEW have been monitoring the case from the start and have been frustrated that it was postponed three times since the suspects’ bail hearing at the end of May.

Despite the previous delays, the case was once again postponed until 27 September, this time pending a decision as to whether the matter should be moved to the High Court or remain at the Protea Magistrate’s Court.

Zandile Motsoeneng, an RAA activist and Moloi’s cousin, told Mambaonline that news of the postponement was “bittersweet”.

“The family was at first distraught about another delay, because they want closure and to move forward, but we feel that if the case is taken to the High Court it will mean more exposure and may lead to harsher sentences,”  Motsoeneng said.

Pic: Mbuso Ngubane – ActionAid

Moloi is one of the many LGBTQ South Africans, especially black queer women, who have faced hate crimes in recent years.

“We urgently need to get to a point as a society, where we not only no long need to monitor court proceedings to ensure justice, but where people’s lives and humanity are respected and protected,” commented ActionAid South Africa’s Communications and Campaigns Manager Katherine Robinson.

“Government must take urgent action to put an end to these hate crimes,” Robinson added.

Moloi was killed just days before starting a new job. When she left her home on the night of her murder to socialise at a nearby tavern, she promised her aunt that she’d buy her a Mother’s Day gift when she got her first pay cheque.

It was a promise she never had the opportunity to keep.

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