After 15 months of organising and calling for justice in the murder of lesbian soccer player, Eudy Simelane the accused will begin their defense today.
In these months evidence presented before the courts has consistently failed to address gender stereotyping that might have aggravated her attack and subsequent murder.
From tomorrow, 26 August, Khumbulane Magagula, Johannes Mahlangu and Themba Mvubu begin their defence at the Delmas Circuit Court on the charges of robbery of Simelane with aggravating circumstances, stealing R200 from Tsepo Pitje, and raping and murdering Simelane. From the last trial proceedings it was established that Mvubu and Mpithi (sentenced in February this year for three of the charges) master-minded Simelane’s ordeal. The pants that Mvubu wore on 27 April 2008 were discovered the next day with Simelane’s blood close to its front zip. Magagula and Mahlangu are implicated to have been part of a pre-meditated robbery that led to rape and murder.
Activists, family and friends will once gather inside and outside the Delmas Court expecting the verdict by the end of this week. Regardless of the outcome, it will be an important moment for closure of this chapter and reviving other initiatives to raise consciousness on violence, hate crimes, stigma and exclusion suffered by lesbian, gays, transgender, intersex and bisexual people (LGBTI).
Join us in Delmas!
Phumi Mtetwa of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project
Emily Craven of the Joint Working Group
However in the case of Buyisiwe who was gang raped on the 2 October 2005, 4 years have passed and she is still fighting for justice as the case has been postponed for the 23rd time. The accused remain out on bail since 2006 as sentencing will now take place on 31 August, 1 or 2 September 2009.
For the last three and a half years Buyisiwe has been relentless in her fight for justice through South Africa’s criminal justice system. This is now the 24th time that Buyisiwe’s case has been postponed! The 1 in 9 Campaign is outraged at this postponement as it serves to further violate Buyisiwe’s rights and to highlight how the system fails to adequately address the needs and rights of the survivor. However, the Campaign is determined to see this matter through to its conclusion and to act in solidarity with Buyisiwe as she passes the last hurdle of sentencing, towards achieving justice through the courts.