The South African Commission for Gender Equality has criticized police for failing to properly investigate the deaths of at least five gay men around Johannesburg. A serial killer is suspected and police have lost CCTV footage of the suspect, reports The Star.
All of the victims, discovered in the past 10 months, were found tied up and strangled inside private homes within the greater Joburg area – with police recording no signs of forced entry. Police working on all four cases believe the minimal theft means robbery was not a motive. It is believed the lack of break-ins may mean the victims knew their would-be killers and could actually have invited them in.
[Three] murders bear striking similarities. In the first attack in December 2010, Jim Cathels was found at his home in Berea. He had been strangled and bound, and there were no signs of forced entry. Four months ago, Oscar O’Hara, 33, had been house-sitting in Kensington for friend and author Ivan Vladislavic. He was bound and strangled by an unknown assailant or assailants. His body was discovered a few days later, when the author returned home from the UK.
Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo, 36, was killed in a similar manner at his flat in Kliptown, Soweto, on September 11, a week before Van Heerden’s death. One element set his murder apart: his killer(s) poured acid on the body after his death from asphyxiation.
Since this news last week, reports of a previous murder have surfaced, reports The Star. The body of Manolis Veloudos was discovered bound and bludgeoned last April. "He was also discovered to have an online dating site profile, which he had used to meet men, much like in the cases of several of the other victims."
The victim's niece says video surveillance of her uncle "and an unknown man on the night of the murder was given to the police, but it was subsequently lost by the investigating officers."
Despite being the only African nation where same-sex marriage is legal—and boasting the world's only constitution where equality in sexual orientation is specified—the reality is much different for many Black South Africans. Life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant.
South Africa boasts the world's highest rates of crime rates and rape. Brutal so-called "corrective rape" and murder are increasing against lesbians in South Africa's townships, as well as rape and attacks against gay men. Police are often criticized for ignoring the attacks or poor detective work.
In May 2011, the RSA government announced that it would establish a task force to address the escalating incidents of anti-LGBT attacks in its nation.
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