LGBTIQ+ hate crimes crisis update

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As the President remains silent while others speak out, pressure is growing on the government to take decisive action against the wave of hate crimes facing the LGBTIQ+ community. Here is an update on the crisis.

  • The Hate Crimes Working Group has published a letter it sent to Parliament and the Minister of Justice calling for an explanation as to why the Hate Crimes Bill has still not been passed four and a half years after the first draft was published.
  • More organisations have signed onto the landmark statement issued this week by LGBTIQ+ activists demanding urgent action from the president and the government in the wake of six LGBTIQ+ murders in the last two and a half months. At the time of publishing, 31 groups from around the country have added their names to the statement. The organisations had given President Cyril Ramaphosa till the end of Friday 23 April to publicly speak out against the violence targeting the LGBTIQ+ community (he has stayed silent). There is talk of a national protest match in the coming days or weeks.
  • Johannesburg Pride joined the calls for action. In an open letter, Kaye Ally – Chairperson of Pride of Africa and the Johannesburg Pride March – also urged Ramaphosa “to provide critical leadership” at this time. Ally said that in addition to a statement “condemning the current murders and threats to the LGBTQ+ community” he should also “establish a Presidential Advisory Committee for LGBTQ+ Issues in the country, consisting of professionals, experts on LGBTQ+ issues and including members from our own LGBTQ+ community.”
  • In a post-cabinet briefing on Thursday, acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni spoke out against the latest hate crime murders. “Cabinet strongly condemned the recent rise of LGBTIQ+ hate crimes that resulted in the deaths of Andile Ntuthela, Siphamandla Khoza and Nathaniel Mbele. The Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 calls on us to respect the rights of all members of society without any form of discrimination. These heinous crimes and acts of harassment have no place in our democracy and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all of us,” said Ntshavheni.
  • A 15-year-old girl has pleaded guilty in the Somerset West Regional Court to killing internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Kirvan Fortuin. She was sentenced to detention in a juvenile centre until the age of 21. The 28-year-old Cape Town artist was stabbed to death on June 13 while socialising at a friend’s house in Macassar. Few details about the case have been released because the killer is a minor.
  • The murder of Lonwabo Jack also involves a minor. A 17-year-old was arrested on Wednesday in the Eerste River area in connection with the killing. He appeared in the Athlone Magistrates Court and has been put in a “place of safety” and not jail because of his age. The matter was postponed to 29 April. The 22-year-old Jack was stabbed to death in Nyanga, Cape Town last weekend just hours after celebrating his birthday.
  • In the murder of Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela, the 28-year-old suspect who admitted killing the 41-year-old will next appear in court on 1 June. Lulu’s mutilated and burned body was found in a shallow grave at the man’s house on 10 April in KwaNobuhle, Kariega.
  • The man accused of murdering Bonang Gaelae, 29, will appear in the Sebokeng Magistrates Court on Friday 30 April at 8:00. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community are urged to show their support at the court. Simon Mokoena, 58, is accused of stabbing Gaelae and assaulting her partner, Chippa, on 12 February.
  • In the case of Nathaniel ‘Spokgoane’ Mbele, the man arrested in connection with his murder will next appear in court on 3 May at 8:00 at Vanderbijlpark Magistrates Court. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community are urged to show their support at the court. Spokgoane was found stabbed in the chest on the 2nd of April in Tshirela, near Vanderbijlpark.

An open letter to @presidencyza addressing the Queer Murders in SA! 🏳️‍⚧️🏳️‍🌈
We need to stand together and fight this. 🛑
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#prideofafrica #lgbtq #stopqueermurders #queerlivesmatter

Posted by Johannesburg Pride on Thursday, April 22, 2021

Please join us
#JusticeForBonang
#VaalLGBTI

Posted by Azania Sengwayo on Friday, April 23, 2021

Please join us
#JusticeforSpokgoane
#VaalLGBTI

Posted by Azania Sengwayo on Friday, April 23, 2021

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