2 July 2013

South Africa: Thokoza Murder - National Council Against Gender-Based Violence Must Make 'corrective' Rape a Priority

press release

The DA is shocked and saddened by reports of the brutal rape and murder of Thokoza resident, Duduzile Zozo. According to media reports, Duduzile, a lesbian woman, was brutally raped and murdered over the weekend in what is believed to have been a hate crime.

Government is not doing nearly enough to eradicate the scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa. Although established over six months ago, the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence based within the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities has done very little to visibly deliver on its mandate, despite a R20 million budget. Furthermore, the Corrective Rape Task Team established by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster to conduct a legislative audit of legislation pertaining to hate crimes in South Africa, has been silent since its creation in 2011.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to the Department of Justice to query the progress of this task team. We will also request that the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence be summoned to Parliament to present progress made on its plans and programmes to curb violence against women and children in South Africa.

It is estimated that as many as 10 lesbians are raped or gang-raped weekly in South African and that victims of 'corrective' rape are less likely to report their victimisation to the police due to some of the stigmas still surrounding homosexuality. Recent Amnesty International research also suggests that black lesbians were the most at risk of homophobic violence and that the State and society are failing to protect them.

There is an urgent need for educational programmes and awareness campaigns to address the attitudes and biases that lead to these abhorrent crimes. There is also a desperate need for the provision of support to individuals and communities affected by them, and to empower people to stand together and demand change to a system that is unfortunately failing them.

Our condolences go out to Duduzile's family and friends during this devastating time.

The DA will explore every possible avenue to ensure the safety of South Africa's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and the protection of their rights and dignity.

Helen Lamoela, Shadow Deputy Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities

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