Iranti-org is a media
advocacy organisation
that defends the rights of Lesbians, Transgender
and Intersex persons
in Africa. 

 

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HATE CRIMES

 

Iranti-org on Channel Radio

 

Radio, 30 January 2017

PODCAST (35 mins, 10MB): Jabu Pereira (Director of Iranti-org) and Tshego Phala (Senior Associate at Webber Wentzel) sat down for an interview with Channel Africa. Both Jabu and Tshego engaged in issues surrounding the draft Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Pick up the interview on the link below:
Listen to interview of Jabu Pereira and Tshego Phala.

 

hate crimes • Hate Crimes Bill

Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Joshua Sehoole

 

South Africa, 15 February 2017
Iranti-org brings the next episode of the Conversations around the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill, where Maneo Mohale, speaks to Joshua Sehoole, Iranti-org Regional Human Rights Manager, on his views of the new draft Bill.

 

hate crimes • Hate Crimes Bill

Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Sekotlaone i

South Africa, 13 February 2017
Iranti-org beings the next episode of the Conversations around the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill, where Maneo Mohale speaks to Sekotlaone i, a LGBTI activist, on his views of the new draft Bill.

 

hate crimes • Hate Crimes Bill

Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill Conversation: Juan Nel

South Africa, 12 February 2017
Iranti-org brings the next episode of our Conversations around the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, in which Maneo Mohale speaks to Professor Juan Nel, from UNISA, on the history and process of the draft Bill.

 

HATE CRIMES • Hate Crimes Bill

Hate Crimes Bill Conversation Kelly Gillespie

South Africa, 30 January 2017
In the second video of Iranti-org’s five-part conversation series about the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, we sat down with Dr. Kelly Gillespie, a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at WITS University. Based on more than 20 years of academic research on South Africa’s criminal justice system, Dr. Gillespie explains her primary concern with the Bill: its reliance on criminalisation and incarceration as a deterrent to crime and violence, which she strongly critiques. Stay tuned to the series for more conversations and perspectives on the draft Bill.

 

HATE CRIMES • Hate Crimes Bill

Hate Crimes Bill Public Engagement

South Africa, 11 November 2016

On 11 November 2016, Iranti-org, in collaboration with the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), hosted a public engagement on the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, which was attended by over one hundred individuals and organizations from across South Africa. A panel discussion formed the centerpiece of the event, where various academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the Bill. The discussion led into a lengthy and robust debate. This is the first video in a five-part series involving conversations around the Hate Crimes Bill. Stay tuned for more!

 

HATE CRIMES • Hate Crimes Bill Process

Iranti-org engaging in the Hate Crimes Bill Process

 

South Africa, 20 January 2017

In the final quarter of 2016, on 11 November 2016, approximately 100 individuals and organisations attended a public engagement hosted by Iranti-org, in collaboration with Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW). A panel consisting of academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the content of the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Opinions were varied, and a robust debate took place.

From left: Juan Nel, Maneo Mohale and Kelly Gillespie speaking at the Public Engagement panel     Photo: Iranti-org

From left: Juan Nel, Maneo Mohale and Kelly Gillespie speaking at the Public Engagement panel. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking Kegomodiceo Mocoanncoeng of Vaal LGBTI speaking during a break-away sessions at the Public Engagement. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking Kegomodiceo Mocoanncoeng of Vaal LGBTI speaking during a break-away sessions at the Public Engagement. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: Advocate Mandisa Mbatha-Beckett and member at FEW spoke about the importance of engaging the proposed bill  Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: Advocate Mandisa Mbatha-Beckett and member at FEW spoke about the importance of engaging the proposed bill. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: Anthony Waldhausen, founder director at Gays & Lesbian Network contributing during the break-away session  Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: Anthony Waldhausen, founder director at Gays & Lesbian Network contributing during the break-away session. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: A member from an LGBTI organization based in Sebokeng, Talking about the violations affecting the community. Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: A member from an LGBTI organization based in Sebokeng, Talking about the violations affecting the community. Photo: Iranti-orgSpeaking: Khwezilomso Mbandazayo of Oxfam South Africa talking about the next step of the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill  Photo: Iranti-org

Speaking: Khwezilomso Mbandazayo of Oxfam South Africa talking about the next step of the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.  Photo: Iranti-org


What is a Hate Crime?

A Hate Crime is a crime motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. These crimes often involve excessive violence meant to transmit a message about the perpetrator’s bias.

 

Developing an approach to Hate Crimes in South Africa

A Hate Crimes Bill was being developed, by a Working Group on Hate Crimes, as a direct result of the high levels of xenophobic violence that took place in South Africa in 2008. Parallel to this process, and as a result of repeated lobbying by LGBTI activists, the Justice and Security cluster set up the National Task Team on Gender and Sexual Orientation-based Violence Perpetrated against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons, in 2011.

 

Life before a Hate Crimes Bill

The South African legal system uses legislation covering matters relating to civil and criminal justice, including the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 106 of 1996; the provision of administrative justice (Administrative Justice Act, 2000); as well as access to Equality Courts (PEPUDA, 2000); for matters related to discrimination and prejudice. To date the existing legislation has not deterred the rate of violent crimes aimed at LGBTI persons; and there is a belief that the introduction of additional legislation may go the same route.

 

LGBTI Activists respond to the Hate Crimes Bill

The draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill was placed in the public domain in October 2016. It provides for the offence of hate crimes and the offence of hate speech. It also provides for the prosecution of persons who commit those crimes and appropriate sentences that may be imposed on persons who commit hate crime and hate speech offences. Although the Bill claims to provide for the prevention of hate crimes and hate speech, and reporting on the implementation, its application as an integrated approach from government to its administration, is unclear.

 

One reservation is that the Bill started out as dealing with hate crimes, but with the publication of this draft, hate speech was added. There is a difference between the two. Hate crimes refer to crimes where the perpetrator is motivated by a bias. No formal definition of hate speech exists in South Africa at present.

 

Next Steps

A submission will be made by Iranti-org, by the 31 Jan 2017 deadline; and Iranti has activities planned that will take the issue further, through training around human rights, and building capacity in the sector to implement human rights; as well as hosting public engagements around the issue of hate speech and hate crimes. Iranti-org is currently releasing a five part series of audio visual conversations around the HC Bill, held with specialists in the sector. These will be loaded onto the Iranti-org website.

Events • Hate Crimes engagement 2016-2017

Hate Crimes Bill Conversation Kelly Gillespie

South Africa, 30 January 2017
VIDEO In the second video of Iranti-org’s five-part conversation series about the draft Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, we sat down with Dr. Kelly Gillespie, a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at WITS University. Based on more than 20 years of academic research on South Africa’s criminal justice system, Dr. Gillespie explains her primary concern with the Bill: its reliance on criminalisation and incarceration as a deterrent to crime and violence, which she strongly critiques. Stay tuned to the series for more conversations and perspectives on the draft Bill.

Read more... Watch the videos

 

Hate Crimes Bill Public Engagement

South Africa, 11 November 2016

VIDEO On 11 November 2016, Iranti-org, in collaboration with the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), hosted a public engagement on the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, which was attended by over one hundred individuals and organizations from across South Africa. A panel discussion formed the centerpiece of the event, where various academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the Bill. The discussion led into a lengthy and robust debate. This is the first video in a five-part series involving conversations around the Hate Crimes Bill. Stay tuned for more!

Read more... Watch the videos

 

Iranti-org engaging in the Hate Crimes Bill Process in North West

South Africa, 11 November 2016

In the final quarter of 2016, on 11 November 2016, approximately 100 individuals and organisations attended a public engagement hosted by Iranti-org, in collaboration with Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW). A panel consisting of academics, legal experts and activists made presentations and engaged with the audience on the content of the draft Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Opinions were varied, and a robust debate took place.

 

Call to Action on the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (HCB)

South Africa, 13 December 2016

Iranti-org calls on everyone in the sector to engage with the process regarding the Drafting of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill (HCB). The due date for public comments is 31 January 2017. While this deadline is being challenged by the sector, we urge everyone to study the draft bill and respond.

Read more...

 

Africa By Country: South Africa • Ventersdorp • 26's Gang

Women in Ventersdorp are terrorized
by the 26’s Gang

by Ayanda Msiza

 

31 August 2016, South Africa
Lesbian women fear for their safety as they face increased attacks, such as rape, death threats and psychological violence from a gang of men known as the 26s. SAPS is silent on this and prosecutor’s pass on these cases because they fear for their safety. Melissa Makau recently survived this ordeal.

Melissa Makau

Outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate Vourt. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

 

Melissa Makau and her friend Koos were walking pass the graveyard in Toevlug, Ventersdorp, when a member of 26’s gang threatened her with a gun. He pointed the gun at her and told her friend to run and that he should not attempt to call the police or else his friend’s life will be in danger. The perpetrator took her to his backroom, where she was raped at gunpoint.

Two years ago Disebo Gift Makau a lesbian woman was raped and murdered by a member of 26’s gang. The perpetrator was sentenced to two life terms and 15 years in prison. This gang has terrorized Gift Makau’s mother and she was forced to flee her home. She is back and lives in constant fear.

 

After the brutal rape Melissa’s perpetrator said, “Tell your other lesbian friends they are next. I know where they stay and I know their working hours.” Melissa’s perpetrator is known as a dangerous person in the community of Toevlug, Ventersdorp. He has committed several other sexual offences before.

 

The prosecutor assigned to this case has requested another prosecutor to handle this matter. He fears for his safety. Iranti-org is shocked to learn how the criminal justice system in the North West Province is fearful of this gang. How many women in Ventersdorp will be targeted?

 

Melissa deserves justice. The Bill of Rights sets to ensure rights of all people in South Africa and it calls for the right to freedom and security, including freedom from all violence by both public or private sources, and the right to bodily and psychological integrity.

 

The perpetrator was arrested the following day, on 18 August 2016, and will be appearing on 1 September 2016 for the third time at Ventersdorp Magistrate Court.

 

We call upon SAPS to thoroughly investigate the 26’s gang and to institute safety measures for women and the LGBTI community in Ventersdorp.

 

africa by country • South Africa

Hate crimes and Lesbian murders, a silent genocide in our South African Townships

 

South Africa, 9 April 2016

In the past couple of months, Iranti-org has seen a rise in the cases of hate crimes especially the murder of lesbian women in our townships. So what is the State’s role in intervening? Read more...

 

africa by country • South Africa

Born Free, Killed by Hate in South Africa

By BBC and Iranti-org

BBC hate crimes in South Africa

South Africa, 7 April 2016

Iranti-org assisted the BBC in producing this important story on increased hate crimes in South Africa. Listen to the podcast ...

 

Africa by country • South Africa

VAAL LGBTI COMMUNITY SPEAK OUT ABOUT THEIR PAIN AND THEIR STRUGGLES FOR A SAFER COMMUNITY

By Iranti-org

 

24 February 2016

button Play

Pascalina Melamu

10 March 2016, South Africa

Pascalina Melamu's story

By Ajax Sengwayo, Project Coordinator: Vaal LGBTI

Pascalina Melamu’s tortured and burnt body leaves a scar in the minds of all lesbians in South Africa, but in particular the Vaal lesbian community who knew her so well. She is gone, killed before she could celebrate the passing of high school.

 

Despite clear legal protections and a very progressive Constitution, South Africa continues to report some of the highest number of violent crimes and murders against lesbians. These murders when reported to the police (SAPS) are often handled in a sloppy manner, with almost no sense of urgency.

LGBTI never be silent
"Never be Silent" against hate crimes against LGBTI community.

 

What is left for a community pained by violence, poor services and the absence of a police service that ensures the safety of the LGBTI community?

 

With the support of Iranti-org’s ZwaKala project, the Vaal LGBTI organisation hosted a social dialogue on 19 February 2016 at the Evaton North multipurpose centre. A social dialogue creates an opportunity for conversations to take place about the issues at hand related to violence, and also to map out advocacy approaches moving forward. The dialogue was attended by 110 people – members of the LGBTI community, SAPS, POWA and FEW, local government councillors representative and staff from the Thuthuzela centre.
Warrant Officer Moopelwa from Mafatsane police station
Warrant Officer Mr Moopelwa from Mafatsane police station speaks about the procedures for reporting hate crimes.

 

As part of the dialogue Iranti-org screened its media report on the murder of Thembelihle Sokhela, a young lesbian murdered in Daveyton in 2014.

The dialogue created a space for people to voice their frustration and pain;“A very painful thing happened here. I do not know what type of a person did this. I am truly heartbroken by this and I believe we need to stand together as a community and fight the people who did this”, said Mr Ndlela, a local councillor.
LGBTI Vaal community
Community members map out issues affecting LGBTI persons in the Vaal.

 

Dialogues such as these help streng the and build a community bond between the Vaal LGBTI, the Evaton North ward councillor and the Mafatsane SAPS. These constituents will continue to engage in discussions and workshops to build a safer community for all.

 

The investigation of Pascalina’s murder is ongoing and to date no arrests have been made. Iranti-org continues to monitor the case.

 

AFRICA BY COUNTRY • SOUTH AFRICA

Increased spate of violence against

Black Lesbians in the Vaal

By Iranti-org

 

Johannesburg, 21 January 2016

Passing your matric is a major highlight in every young learner in South Africa.  Doubly so for Black learners in townships who face major social and economic challenges. For LGBTI learners, ‘coming out’ in South African public school often means exposing oneself to bullying and teacher prejudice. The education system is failing to support learners on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. 


Motshidisi Pascalini Melamu, a 21 year old lesbian, excelled and passed her matric, but she was raped, mutilated and murdered before she could even learn of her victory.  On 18 December 2015, her body was found in an open field in the Vaal region of Johannesburg. She had been missing for two days.  Her face was burnt with acid and one eye had been gouged out. Her breasts had been cut. Her mother recognised her daugther in the mortuary from the tattoo on her leg.


Pascalina had been at a social gathering with a friend on 16 December. She went to the bathroom and never returned. Her friend was raped and narrowly escaped the same brutal death. The perpetrators were known to both victims.

 

The community of Evaton North took to the streets demanding the perpetrators are arrested. 
Photo by: Gugu Mandla

The community of Evaton North took to the streets demanding the perpetrators are arrested. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

The community demand action from the police. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

The community demand action from the police. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January                                    Photo  by: Gugu Mandla

Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla

Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo  by: Gugu Mandla

Vaal LGBTI and others took to the streets on 12 January. Photo by: Gugu Mandla


Lesbians. On 12 January 2016, the Vaal LGBTI marched to the Mafatsane Evaton Police Station and handed over a memorandum to the MEC for Public Safety in the Emufuleni local municipality demanding the perpetators be arrested. At the time of Pascalina’s murder, the case was handed to an investigating officer that was still on leave.  No work was done on the case in his absence. The petition calls for SAPS to speed upits investigation on this and other cases and to ensure that arrests are made.


VAAL LGBTI is registered and struggles to receive support to run programmes that could assist in reducing homophobia and transphobia in the Vaal region.  Annually they have organise a Vaal Pride and some fear that these attacks may occur as a result of visibility campaigns on LGBTI rights. 


Iranti-org is documenting this case and will continue providing support to the Vaal LGBTI organisation in collaboration with other civil society organisations.

 

Africa by country • South Africa

Pule Botlhokwane gets two life sentences for murdering young lesbian, Disebo Makau

Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane, hate-crime murderer of Disebo Gift Makau in South Africa.

South Africa, 21 May 2014
On Wednesday 20 May 2015, at the Potchesfstoom High Court, North West Province, Judge Kruger sentenced Pule Stoffel Botlhokwane two life terms and fifteen years for robbery. He was charged for: (i) Murder, (ii) Rape, and (iii) Robbery Click here to read the full press release.

 

Press Releases • Disebo Gift Makau

Disebo Gift Makau

 

26 January 2015

The Iranti-org media team will be heading to Ventersdorp this week to monitor and lobby the judicial system on the case of Disebo Gift Makau. Disebo Gift Makau, a 24 year-old lesbian was found half naked and strangled on 15 August 2014. She had a wire around her neck with an open hosepipe pushed down her throat. Her case is another example of a hate crime, which the Rapid Response Team, has failed to attend to. Iranti-org and the LGBTI community from the North West Province (Gay and Lesbians of Rustenburg, Gay Umbrella from Mafikeng, groups from Ventersdorp, Klerksdorp and Potchestroom) have organised a mass action outside the Ventersdorp Magistrate Court from 9am on Thursday 29 January 2015.

Click here for the Press Release. Click on the image below for a larger version.

 

Gift Makau poster for mass action against hate crime in Ventersdorp, South Africa

 

Hate Crimes • Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau

Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau ~ facilitated discussion about advocacy for this case

South Africa, 14 January 2016

On Wednesday 14 January, the team will travel to Potchestroom to meet with LGBTI groups in North West province. Here, he will hear more about the case of Disebo ‘Gift’ Makau, a black lesbian who was gruesomely murdered in Ventersdorp in August 2014. At the meeting, Iranti-org will facilitate a discussion on the advocacy for this case, scheduled for 29 January 2015 at the Potchestroom High Court.

 

Africa By Country: South Africa • LESLEY MAKOUSA

Justice for Lesley Makousa

 

 

South Africa, 19 August 2016

On Saturday 6 August 2016, the police found the deserted body of 16 year old Lesley Makousa in a nearby field of Promosa, in the North West Province. Lesley Makousa was a gay Grade 10 learner at Promosa Secondary School. 

On 11 August 2016, Iranti attended Lesley’s memorial service which was hosted by Promosa Secondary School. There was a high attendance from bereaved family, school mates and the broader community of Promosa. Lesley’s teacher spoke highly of them and expressed a deep regret that they had passed on so soon.

 

Iranti documented the memorial service and is monitoring the investigation of Lesley's murder. Rest in power Lesley, you will be missed.

 

Press Releases • Lesley Makousa

Justice for Lesley Makousa

 

15 August 2016, South Africa

On Saturday the 6th of August, the police found the deserted body of 16 year old Lesley Makousa in a nearby field of Promosa, in the North West province. Lesley Makousa was a gay grade 10 learner at Promosa Secondary School. Lesley was found lying face down and his shoes neatly placed next his body. Lesley had been strangled to death with shoelaces. On the 11 of August, Iranti attended Lesley’s memorial service which was hosted by Promosa Secondary School.
Read more…

 

Africa by Country • South Africa

LGBTI Hate crimes in the East Rand

 

South Africa, 6 May 2016

As a media documentations organization, over the past four months Iranti-org has received an alarming number of cases of hate crimes in the Gauteng province. The Eastrand and the Vaal region have been mostly affected. Iranti-org is currently following up and reporting on 1 murder case of Pascalina Malemu in the Vaal, 1 murder case of Tebogo Mkhonto in Volsolruus and 2 cases of Lucia Naidoo and Mabelandile Mohlabi in Katlehong. Iranti-org is also following up and reporting on a rape case in the Vaal and a hate crime incident against a trans* woman in Klerksdorp, North West.

 

Among these cases, Iranti-org documented the heartbreaking murders of Lucia Naidoo and Tebogo Mkhonto. Lucia was murdered outside her house on her birthday, March 19th 2016 and died in her mother’s arms. About two weeks later, a few streets away from Lucia’s house, a young gay man Tebogo was also murdered in his home in Volsoorus. He had gone out with his friends and returned to 5 men breaking and entering into his home. Tebogo's property was taken from his home and the four men raped him with a stick, stabbed him to death and decapitated him.

Iranti-org is closely monitoring the cases and working with the South African Police services to ensure justice is served. 1 suspect has been arrested for Lucia’s murder and 4 suspects have been arrested for Tebogo’s murder. Iranti-org will also release a report to the Ministry of Justice’s national hate-crimes task team highlighting the urgency of government intervention regarding LGBTI hate crimes in South Africa. Iranti-org, along with two community based organizations, IHAWU and Voslo Activators documented both the cases of Lucia and Tebogo.

 

Above is the video reporting on both the murders.

 

Africa by country • Malawi

Unprotected lives - Malawi

 

7 March 2016, Malawi

On January 2, 2016, Ken Msonda, the spokesperson of the People's Party, wrote on his facebook page, LGBT people are worse than dogs and Malawians should kill them. CEDEP, CHRR and the Malawi Law Society charged Msonda for breaking Malawi's constitutional law. In this media report they speak about this fight against hate towards LGBT persons.

 

Africa by country • Malawi

Civil Society Stand United Against Hate Speech In Malawi

 

22 January 2016. By Iranti-org, Blantyre

The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions of Malawi to issue a discontinuance against the matter in which Msonda was charged for his Kill the Gays statement was of great concern to key leaders of civil society. 

 Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Welcome to the warm heart of Africa billboard with the face of honourable Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

Civil society leaders from the religious sector, youth and human rights sector met in Blantyre to collective decide that a judicial review is required to decided on the Director of Public Prosecutions decision.   There remains a collective action by civil society to stop all forms of hate speech towards all vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the LGBTI community of Malawi. 

Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Neighbourhood of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.
Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

Organisations such as MANARELA, the Pentecostal Revive Church, YOCRIS, CEDEP and CHRR agreed to continue working on the Msonda case as a collective. Iranti-org agreed to support the advocacy initiative, by documenting and reporting on the LGBTI human rights situation in Malawi.

Left to right; Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP)                                Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right; Gift Trapence with Dunker Kamba from Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right; Gift Trapence Director at CEDEP together with Timothy Mtambo Director at CHRR. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bishop Joshua Jere, speaking against Kill The Gays Statement. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Bright Kampaunai, Youth and Children Rights Shield (YOCRIS). Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

Left to right: MacDonald Sembereka, Bright Kampaunai, Gift Trapence, Jabulani Pereira, Timothy Mtambo and Bishop Johua Jere. Photo by: Ayanda Msiza

 

AFRICA BY COUNTRY • MALAWI

Msonda is off the hook. For now.

By Jabulani Pereira

 

Blantyre, Malawi, 21 January 2016
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of Malawi has urgently issued a notice of discontinuance in the case of The Republic and Kenneth Msonda. The DPP has used its legal powers to stop Kenneth Msonda from appearing in court for his Kill the Gays statements.

On January 2, Msonda posted the following comments on his facebook page “Government should come up clear on the issue of Gays and Lesbians. They are worse than dogs, sons and daughters of the evil one – Arresting them won’t address this problem because sooner or later they are being released on bail. The best way to deal with this problem is to KILL them!” Msonda at an interview with radio Joy reiterated these comments stating, “by releasing these people, it means Malawi is a lawless country. These people have no rights. The best way is to kill them.”

Msonda was charged by the Malawi Law Society, CEDEP and CHRR for breaking the law and for inciting hatred and violence. The court found sufficient reasons for Msonda to be appear and defend his claims. Msonda’s legal argument and affidavit sent to the court quotes biblical verses on why homosexuality should not be condoned and he argues that he has a right to freedom of expression and opinion.

2016 Msonda - Gift Trapence

Gift Trapence, Director of CEDEP. Photo by Ayanda Msiza

CEDEP Director, Gift Trapence and CHRR Director, Timothy Mtambo, both arrived in Blantyre to face Msonda in court. Their legal representative Soko was called this afternoon by the DPP’s office stating that they will stop this case from proceeding by issuing a notice of discontinuance. The constitution and the criminal procedure and evidence code gives the DPP powers to discontinue a matter. The reactions by both Directors are ones of shock and disbelief that the government would protect a politician from being legally accountable for inciting hatred and violence. “Msonda committed a criminal act and he should be held accountable for violating the laws of Malawi. The government’s action in stopping this case sends a wrong message to the nation. They are saying killing Gay people is fine. Interference such as this is dangerous in any democratic society. How then is the right to life guaranteed, if the incitement and promotion murder is protected by the state?” asks Trapence.

Hate speech cases are not new to the Malawi courts. In 2008, political leader Gwanda Chakwamba called on the public to attack the Lomwe people. The late President Bingu wa Mutharika is Lomwe. Chakwamba was arrested and appeared before the court. In addition the government has used laws to charge and arrest Journalists who criticize the President. The late Ralph Tenthani was charged for calling the President “a Big Kahuna.”

 

2016 Msonda - Justice Hard work

Creating a progressive nation? Photo by: Jabulani Pereira

 

Since the utterances of Msonda, a new movement called Youth with Vision placed an advert in several print newspapers calling on the public to support

Msonda’s legal case. They called upon the public to join Msonda at the court and to show their support against homosexuality and same-­‐sex marriage. The newspapers published the banking details of the fund that is set up to support Msonda. “We want the Malawi Human Rights Commission to investigate as this contravenes the law of the country. Can a fund be set up to support someone who has called on others to kill gay people? Is a bank allowed to open such an account?” asks Trapence. Mtambo the Director of CHRR says, “killing of human beings has no basis in any society. There is no justification for what the DPP has done and we will not stop here. We have an obligation to ensure that all Malawians live in a free and safe society.”

 

YOCRIS, CAYO and FND are youth movements in Malawi. They have joined CEDEP and CHRR in the legal fight against Msonda. They will collectively discuss the next steps in reviewing the DPP’s decision and ensuring that Msonda is held accountable.

Jabulani Pereira is the Director of Iranti-­‐org, a regional Transgender and Lesbian documentation and reporting organization. Iranti-­‐org is based in Johannesburg.

For more information contact: getinfo@iranti-org.co.za

 

press Releases • Thembelihle Sokhela

Thembelihle Sokhela’s case returns to the Benoni Magistrate’s Court

 

Johannesburg, 12 January 2015
On Tuesday 13 January 2015 at 09h00, Thembelihle Sokhela’s case returns to the Benoni Magistrate’s Court, after being postponed on at least five occasions. The court is located at 29 Harpur Avenue, Benoni.

 

Thembelihle, a 28-year old lesbian woman from Daveyton was murdered on 14 September 2014. She was found wrapped in a blanket and thrown behind her perpetrator’s bed. Download the full press statement.

 
Press Releases • Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela

Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela Mass Action

South Africa, 13 January 2016

On Tuesday 13 January, Bukeni will join the Iranti-org media and documentation team to the Benoni High Court to hear the case of Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela (see press release), a 28 year old lesbian from Daveyton, killed in September 2014. Iranti-org and CBOs from various locations in Johannesburg have planned a mass action outside the court, demanding a fair and speedy trial of this hate crime. After this, Bukeni will have the opportunity to visit some of the lesbian groups in Daveyton and the Vaal.

 

PRESS RELEASES • GALZ

GALZ condemns attack on Itai Dzmara (journalist) and Kennedy Masiye (lawyer) in Harare

 

Harare, 7 November 2014
GALZ condemns the brutal attack of Journalist Itai Dzamara and nine other
demonstrators following their Occupy Africa Unity Square demonstration in
Harare on Thursday and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights projects lawyer Kennedy Masiye who was also severely assaulted by police officers at Africa Unity Square while representing the protestors. It is deplorable that Zimbabwe continues on this path of routinely beating protestors.

Download the full press statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
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