A suspect in the brutal murder of Thapelo Makuthle is reported to have been caught. The suspect, named Sizwe Tajini, resides with his father in the village of Seoding, the same of the victim, near Kuruman, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Thapelo Makuthle, a gay man, was brutally murdered on 8 June, Kuruman, Northern Cape, his head almost severed from his body.
During a court hearing that was held today in Kuruman, Taijini was said to have admitted to carrying out the murder alone.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Shaine Griqua, director of the LGBT rights group LEGBO Northern Cape reported that Taijin ‘stayed silent most of the time and showed no remorse.
‘He also made contemptuous, arrogant facial expressions and body posturing at the LGBT activists who were in attending the court hearing,’ he told us.
According to Griqua, Taijini was caught by the police on Sunday in his mother’s home in Welkom, when he used the murdered victim’s laptop he had stolen.
The case has been postponed for a bail hearing on 3 July 2012. Griqua called upon community members to attend demonstrations that will be held in front of the court that day calling for justice and sending messages against hate crimes.
‘This is the second murder reported to us an organisation in the Northern Cape, although other crimes and violence has been reportedly on the increase,’ he said.
‘LGBT people here and throughout South Africa are living in fear, afraid of being the next victim.
‘In the Northern Cape there has been a growth and increased visibility of the LGBT community which seemed to come against deep prejudice based on cultural traditions of deeply rural and relatively uneducated communities.’
This highlights the need for more education and counselling as well as more robust legislation and law enforcement: ‘As a voluntary organisations we urgently need help and resources to be able to carry out such work.
‘The government of South Africa is responding very poorly to the increasing incidence of hate crimes all over the country, they are simply not interested in combating this phenomena, nor is the government of the Northern Cape Province’, complained Griqua.
Recently traditional tribal leaders and a prominent MP from the ruling ANC party have called for the removal of LGBT rights from the South African constitution.
Such statements by tribal leaders seen as encouraging hate crimes, ‘these leaders have a large influence on public sentiment’ Melanie Nathans, a South African LGBT advocate now based in San Francisco, told Gay Star News.
‘Speaking against the constitution and protection of LGBT people is a form of violence in itself,’ she stated.
‘The South African Task Force against hate crimes needs to move quickly to make recommendations to the government that must include a massive educational programme to help correct prejudice and ignorance. It is ignorant to say that homosexuality is non-African. Sexual orientation is innate, it is not a choice.’
Just two days ago a young lesbian from Nyanga Township, near Cape Town, was shot dead in front of her family, allegedly because of her sexuality.
African LGBT refugees fleeing to South Africa also report being met with hate crime and violence in their supposed country of refuge.