Outrage at ‘gruesome and shame

Outrage at ‘gruesome and shameful’ murder of South African lesbian

It is believed that 26-year-old Duduzile Zozo’s murder was as a result of her sexual orientation.

Outrage at ‘gruesome and shame

DuduzileSouth Africans have expressed outrage at the news of the brutal rape and murder of Duduzile Zozo from Thokoza, south east of Johannesburg.

It is believed that the murder came as a result of her sexual orientation. The 26-year-old’s half naked body was discovered last Sunday at a house about 10 metres away from her home. Her killers had pushed a toilet brush up her vagina. It appears to be the latest incident of ‘corrective rape’ in South Africa.

Her mother Thuziwe Zozo believes that the death of her a daughter came about because she was a lesbian

The government released a statement offering condolences to Zozo’s family. According to Government Communication and Information System acting chief executive officer Phumla Williams, “The Bill of Rights of our Constitution recognises and guarantees equality. This fundamental right enjoins South Africans not to discriminate against anyone on several grounds, including gender, sex and sexual orientation.”

“Violent acts such as this reinforce the existing social inequalities, based on gender and sexuality and cannot go unchallenged. As we enter Mandela Month, let us not forget what the father of the nation fought for – a democratic country governed by a Constitution that is anchored on a vision that promotes human dignity, human rights and freedom, non-racialism and non-sexism. Let us work together to keep the legacy of Nelson Mandela alive,” Williams said.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane expressed sadness at Zozo’s “gruesome and shameful” murder.  “We urge community members to go to the police with any information that will lead to the successful arrest of the people responsible for this barbaric act, so that they can face the full might of the law.”

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Zozo family; our prayers are with you,” Mokonyane said. She asked for the help of the public to get to the bottom of Zozo’s death.

A special task team has been set up to find information that will assist in tracking the perpetrator responsible for Zozo’s murder. Senior officials in the Department of  Justice and Constitutional Development, as well members of civil society who form part of the National Task Team established by Minister Jeff Radebe are mandated to develop urgent interventions to combat crimes against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI), have visited Thokoza to meet with police officials to establish the progress made in the investigation.

Part of the work of the National Task Team involves urgently finalising a rapid response mechanism that will identify and track cases involving crimes committed against LGBTI persons.

However Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who visited Zozo’s family on Monday, believes the government is not doing enough to end violence against women and children. “It is hard for us all to understand how people can commit such despicable acts. The reality is that our society is badly broken. Every person has a right to love whoever they want to love regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” she said.

“It is estimated that as many as 10 lesbian women are raped or gang-raped every week in South African and that victims of ‘corrective’ rape are less likely to report their victimisation to the police due to some of the stigmas still surrounding homosexuality.

“As a young woman and leader, I am not prepared to stand by while innocent girls and women face such brutality. It is clear we need to intensify the safety of South Africa’s LGBTI community and the protection of their constitutional right to dignity and equality.

“Although established over six months ago, the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence based within the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities has done very little to undertake its mandate, despite a R20 million budget. And the “Corrective Rape” Task Team, established by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster to conduct an audit of legislation pertaining to hate crimes in South Africa, has been mostly silent since its creation in 2011.

Mazibuko said the DA would submit parliamentary questions to the Department of Justice to query the progress of this task team and request that the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence be summoned to brief Parliament on the progress made on its plans and programmes to curb violence against women and children in South Africa.

She said there was also an urgent need for educational campaigns to address the prejudices that give rise to these crimes and ongoing support to individuals and communities affected by them.