It’s been revealed that members of the so-called Grindr Gang syndicate have been operating in Durban, allegedly robbing several men and killing one of the victims.
The Post reported that four suspects have appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and kidnapping. The total amount stolen from the victims is reported to be R1 million.
The victims were lured to local guest houses in areas such as Umhlanga, Ballito, Berea, Brighton Beach, La Lucia and Durban North under false pretences, where they were subsequently beaten, choked, and robbed. One man was tortured by the suspects who allegedly cut his scrotum with a razor blade.
Attacks turn deadly in Durban
The incidents involved 13 victims, some of whom were married, and included a doctor and a policeman. One victim, Kuben Kevin Archary, a 43-year-old Mount Edgecombe businessman, was found strangled with a rope in a Durban guest house in July.
The accused individuals are Khumbulani Quintin Ngubane, 40, Celempilo Nkomo, 29, Nkanyiso Ndebele, 28, and Mzwemvelo Simphiwe Ngubane, 28. Of the four, Mzwemvelo was the only one who applied for bail.
State prosecutor, Calvin Govender, opposed bail due to the severity of the charges and concerns for the safety of the witnesses.
The court proceedings were particularly emotional for Archary’s wife and daughter, who faced the alleged perpetrators in the public gallery.
The Post revealed that the victim’s traumatised wife and son found his lifeless body after they tracked down the location of his car when he failed to return home.
Mzwemvelo was denied bail and the matter has been adjourned to January.
Grindr Gang criminals operating across South Africa
Grindr Gang attacks have been reported in cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town for several years, leaving queer individuals seeking connections through dating apps vulnerable to violence, threats, and theft. It’s thought that many cases go unreported by victims out of fear of stigmatisation, secondary discrimination and being outed.
Most recently, a 22-year-old Johannesburg man endured a harrowing five-day ordeal after being kidnapped by criminals. Another recent high-profile case saw seven men arrested on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and extortion after kidnapping and beating an 18-year-old Johannesburg student.
The news from KwaZulu-Natal confirms that criminals are now using similar methods to target queer men across the country.