The Foundation for Human Rights (the Foundation) notes the Thursday, 25 January 2018, conviction in the Western Cape High Court on the assault, kidnapping and murder of Noluvo Swelindawo, a lesbian, by Sigcine Mdani.
A state witness testified that Sigcine had been seen kicking Swelindawo in the head and face and that the victim was bleeding and crying after the assault. A few days later, Swelindawo was forcefully abducted from her home in Driftsands by Mdani and a group of men. Her body was found the next morning near a footbridge. She had been shot dead and her body showed signs of serious physical assault.
In his ruling, Judge Derek Wille indicated that Mdani’s motivation was ‘fuelled by his intolerance of her sexual orientation’ and that his evidence was ‘wholly unsatisfactory’.
The Foundation believes this to be a clear indication that the assault and murder was a hate crime. The case has been postponed to 12 February 2018 for sentencing procedures.
The violent murder of another member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI+) community once again highlights the extremely high levels of violence and discrimination routinely directed against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
The Foundation continues to work closely with the LGBTI+ community and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development through the LGBTI National and Provincial Task Teams. We appeal to all victims of violence or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression to contact their local LGBTI Provincial Task Teams (https://nationallgbtitaskteam.co.za/contact) for referral to the LGBTI+ Rapid Response Task Team in their area.
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