19 August 2014

South Africa: Cosatu Condemns Rape and Murder of Lesbian

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions angrily condemns the brutal rape and murder of 18-year-old Gift Makau. She was found dead in Tshing, Ventersdorp, on Friday 15 August 2014 after reportedly being raped and strangled with wire and a shoelace; a running hose had been forced into her mouth.

COSATU sends its deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Gift was well known in her community as being a lesbian, and her ordeal is therefore suspected to be a case of what is wrongly described as ‘corrective rape'. A 24-year-old man has been arrested and will appear in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court today.

It is outrageous that we still witness such shocking acts in this twenty first century, in a country which has progressive legislation to put a stop to violence against women and children, and which has ratified, without reservations, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, whose Protocol recognises that every woman has a right to dignity, respect and protection from all forms of violence.

Despite this, such brutal acts continue and are far too common, a product of male chauvinism and patriarchy which must be fought and eliminated.

Three years ago Noxolo Fiyona Nogwaza, a lesbian and active member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organisation Committee, was raped and stoned in Kwa-Thema. A bottle was inserted in her vagina and her face was disfigured. In the same year Banyana Banyana player, Eudy Simelane, was also killed in Kwa-Thema.

COSATU insists that members of the gay and lesbian community must have exactly the same rights as every other South African to choose who to love and have relationships with and to live in peace and safety. We demand that if proved guilty the perpetrator must be given a harsh sentence as a way of expressing South Africans' disgust at such despicable acts.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets

Braamfontein

2017

P.O.Box 1019

Johannesburg

2000

South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339

Fax: +27 11 339-6940

Mobile: +27 82 821 7456

E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za

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