Life sentences for hate crime rape of 19-year-old lesbian


Two Gauteng men sentenced to life in prison for the hate crime rape of a 19-year-old lesbian woman

Activists have welcomed the sentencing of two Gauteng men to life in prison for the hate crime rape of a 19-year-old lesbian woman in 2020.

The Atteridgeville Regional Court handed down the sentence against Getwin Moloto, 30, and Lebohang Makola, 35, on Tuesday.

The victim, who cannot be identified, was attacked on 16 December 2020 in Atteridgeville while she was returning home. When she reached her house at around 8 pm, she was grabbed by three men, including Moloto and Makola, who dragged her into a nearby house, belonging to Moloto.

Forced into a dark room, she was repeatedly raped by the three men. When she asked Moloto why he was doing this, he replied that it was because she was dating women and taking them away from men. By raping her they’d make her stop and do “what’s right”, he told her.

The victim was only able to escape when she asked to use an outside toilet. All three men were identified and arrested, but the third un-named suspect was released due to his mental status.

While both rapists pleaded not guilty to rape, the state was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors argued that hatred against the victim’s sexuality was a key motivation in the attack, describing it as a hate crime.

Access Chapter 2 (AC2) provided psychosocial support for the victim, monitored the case and mobilised support from Atteridgeville community members and the LGBTI+ community in surrounding areas to picket during court appearances to demand justice for the victim.

The organisation’s Legal Unit expressed its satisfaction with the sentence as “it will set an example to other people out there who still have hatred towards LGBTIQ+ people.” Legal Assistant Zaheeda Munyai said that AC2 hopes it will also “encourage other LGBTIQ+ people to come forward and report their cases.”

Munyai further called on the government “to continue to ensure that hate crime cases are prosecuted accordingly” and expressed gratitude “to members of the community of Atteridgeville who were always in court and everyone who supported the victim to make sure that justice was served.”

Last month, Pinky Shongwe, a 32-year old lesbian woman, was stabbed to death in Durban, reportedly because she rejected a man’s romantic advances. Her murder follows last’s year’s queer bloodbath in which at least 24 LGBTIQ+ individuals were brutally killed across the country.

There is currently no definition of a hate crime under South African law. The long-delayed Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, which would change this, was the subject of recent parliamentary public hearings.

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