OUT Welcomes Arrest Of Man In Connection With Lesbian Woman’s Rape & Murder

out-300x167

OUT LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Well-being welcomes the arrest of a suspect in connection with the rape and murder of Gift Makau, a young lesbian woman in Ventersdorp.

According to media reports, the 18-year-old’s body was found on Friday. She had been raped and strangled and a running hose pipe had been shoved down her throat and into her stomach.

The brutality of the attack has all the hallmarks of a hate crime perpetrated against an LGBT victim because of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity or gender appearance.

A 24-year-old man, named as Stoffel Botlhokwane, appeared in the Ventersdorp Magistrates’ Court in connection with the murder on Monday.

OUT sends its deepest condolences to Gift’s family and friends and urges all South Africans to unite in speaking out against LGBT hate crimes.

“Yet another member of our LGBT community has fallen victim to a deadly hate crime, an act that has no place in South Africa, especially after 20 years of democracy,” comments OUT Health Manager Johan Meyer.

“Gift’s appalling murder was committed during women’s month, highlighting the precarious state of gender and sexual orientation equality in many of our communities,” he adds.

Details of Gift’s murder have been communicated to the Department of Justice’s Rapid Response Team, set up to monitor and fast track pending and reported LGBTI related hate crimes in the criminal justice system.

“As a member of the National Task Team on Sexual Orientation and Gender-based Violence, we see the quick arrest of a suspect as a positive sign amidst this unspeakable tragedy. We call for a thorough and speedy investigation and trial in the case. Justice must not be delayed for Gift,” says Meyer.

ENDS

OUT LGBT Well-being OUT started in 1994 and has been active in legal reform for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality in South Africa. This includes working on the legalisation of same-sex marriage (in 2005) and hate crimes. OUT provides health and psychosocial services to LGBT people, including a clinic and HIV prevention work, conducts research and trains mainstream services to adequately meet the needs of their LGBT clients. OUT is registered with the Department of Social Development as a non-profit organisation. For more information please visit www.out.org.za or contact Dawie Nel on 012-430 3272 / neld@out.org.za.