Strategic discussions on ways to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ people are among the actions the government plans to take in response to a spate of hate crimes. As at 29 June 2021, there were 42 pending cases of hate crimes against those communities: 30 murders and 12 rapes.
Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister, John Jeffery, says while Pride Month, celebrated annually in June, is marked in many parts of the world, South Africa was seeing a spate of attacks against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) persons.
“These attacks are extremely concerning and put the dignity, well-being and safety of all people of different sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics in South Africa at heightened risk,” Jeffery said. “Individuals in these vulnerable communities continue to be subjected to hate crimes and gender based violence (GBV). At the same time we are also seeing allegations of homophobia and bullying of LGBTQI+ learners at schools in our country.”
He was addressing the media on the department’s efforts to address hate crimes against LGBTQI+ persons. Jeffery said its reviewed National Intervention Strategy (NIS) 2021 – 2025 is an opportunity to use the National Task Team on the Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons to also respond to gender based violence and femicide (GBVF) in ways that expand access to broader human, socio-economic, civil and political rights to LGBTQI+ people in South Africa.
“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,” Jeffery said. “Eight cases have been finalised, some with significant sentences such as life imprisonment for rape (Daveyton), 25 years imprisonment for rape (Ikageng), 25 years imprisonment for murder (Umlazi), and 14 years imprisonment for rape (Greytown),” the Deputy Minister said.
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.
Jeffery said the pending cases are being actively monitored, with government departments working with the SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority and civil society to ensure that they are thoroughly investigated, arrests are made and prosecutions follow.
The Deputy Minister said plans were under way to have further strategic discussions on enhanced collaboration and interventions to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.
“Changing societal attitudes is the only way to ensure that persons 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,” the Deputy Minister said. – SAnews.gov.za