Red flag as SA records high number of attacks on LGBTIQA+ community

02 July 2021 - 16:37
By kgaugelo masweneng AND Kgaugelo Masweneng
Members of the LGBTIQA+ community are under attack in SA.
Image: Loren Elliott/Reuters Members of the LGBTIQA+ community are under attack in SA.

SA is known for its progressive democracy across the world, but the number of hate crimes against gender and sex groups puts it in disrepute.

Despite the constitutional and legislative protections of equality, the country has recently seen an upsurge in the number of attacks against lesbian, gay and transgender people.

While Pride Month celebrations were underway in many parts of the world, SA was seeing a spate of attacks against members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

This is according to a joint statement by justice and constitutional development deputy minister John Jeffery and Mmapaseka Letsike, co-chairperson of the national task team (NTT) on the protection of the rights of people of different sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics to equality.

“The NTT met on Thursday and took note of the details of the crimes perpetrated against LGBTIQA+ persons. The NTT was informed that as at June 29, there are 42 pending hate crime cases,” said the statement.

Of the 42 pending cases, 30 cases are for murder and 12 for rape. The cases were broken down as follows:

  • Western Cape: nine murder and three rape cases;
  • Gauteng: five murders and six rapes;
  • North West: three murders and one rape;
  • Free State: one murder;
  • KwaZulu-Natal: five attempted murders and murder and one rape;
  • Mpumalanga: one murder and one rape;
  • Limpopo: three murders; and
  • Eastern Cape: three murders.

“Out of the 42 pending hate crime cases, approximately 29 hate crime cases were reported from 2020 to date. Of these 29 hate crime cases, 16 are on the court roll with remand dates with the remaining 13 cases still under investigation,” the statement read.

It said eight cases have been finalised, some with significant sentences. These include life imprisonment for rape (Daveyton), 25 years imprisonment for rape (Ikageng), 25 years for murder (Umlazi), and 14 years for rape (Greytown).

“Some 14 cases have been closed as undetected due to a lack of evidence but may be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority to review the dockets.” 

Plans are also under way to have further strategic discussions on enhanced collaboration and interventions to promote and protect the rights of LGBTIQA+ people. The NTT also considered the first draft of the revised National Intervention Strategy (NIS).

“Our real challenges are in implementation and changing societal attitudes in our communities. Changing societal attitudes is the only way to ensure people are not victims of violence or discrimination in their daily lives on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics,” said Jeffery.

Letsike said: “Revitalisation of NTT at this difficult time for the LGBTIQA+ community in SA will need to focus on implementation that helps the country to prioritise rights protection, promotion and fulfilment as enshrined in the Constitution.

“The urgency of turning the tide on human rights violations is needed now more than ever. Stakeholders must discharge of their responsibilities, coherent strategies must be implemented and lives must be saved. We have that responsibility.”

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