NEWS & ANALYSIS

Zuma must speak out on hate crimes - Lindiwe Mazibuko

DA PL says murder of Thapelo Makutle one in a series of homophobic hate crimes

Hate crimes continue, but President Zuma remains silent

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is profoundly saddened by reports today indicating that Thapelo Makutle, recently named Miss Gay Kuruman, was murdered this past weekend as the victim of a homophobic hate crime (see report).

Makutle's decapitated body was found in his home on Saturday. 

This violent and gruesome assault is yet another reminder that many of our country's people are still denied the basic rights and freedoms which our Constitution enshrines.

There is a spate of homophobic hate crimes which have recently taken place across our country, including the repugnant and unconscionable crime of so-called "corrective rape" committed against lesbian South African women. 

At this time, South Africa needs strong leadership from President Jacob Zuma, and an indication of his commitment to ensuring that all South Africans are able to live their lives free from fear of discrimination or violence.

Unfortunately, the silence from the Presidency has been deafening. This silence is made worse by the fact that President Zuma has in the past shown himself to be prejudiced towards homosexuals. 

Last year, the DA welcomed the establishment of a government-led Joint Task Team on a "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Intervention Strategy", established in September 2011, under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Unfortunately, this task team has yet to make any report on its work. 

Meanwhile, the spate of crimes continues. 

President Zuma must speak out against this weekend's horrific murder, and the many others like it, which are in danger of becoming all too commonplace in our country today. 

I will today be calling for a debate in Parliament about the prevalence of these crimes in South Africa, and calling on MPs to discuss what can be done by the government to address this ongoing problem.

In addition, I will also be writing to the President to ask what immediate steps his government will be taking to address the violence and intimidation that homosexual South Africans must face on a daily basis. 

Such crimes, and the President's silence on them, cannot be allowed to continue. 

Statement issued by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, DA Parliamentary Leader, June 13 2012

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