The body of 23-year-old Thapelo Makutle—who "identified as gay and transgender"—was discovered on June 9 in their home near Kuruman, Northern Cape province. Makutle's throat was slashed, the head was "nearly severed", and their body was dismembered. A suspect has been arrested and confessed, reports Mamba Online.
Colonel Bosman of the Mothibistad Police told Mambaonline that 22-year-old Sizwe Jajini was arrested on Sunday for the murder. He appeared in the Mothibistad Magistrate's Court on Tuesday morning where he confessed to the murder. He is expected to appear in court again on 3 July.
According to Shaine Griqua, Director of Legbo Northern Cape, Jajini was arrested at his mother's house in Welkom and was found with Makhutle's laptop. Griqua said activists who attended the court appearance reported that the alleged killer was arrogant and appeared to show no remorse. "We've very happy about the arrest. We just want to see justice done," Griqua said.
Makhutle's throat was slit in the early hours of Saturday 9 June in his rented room after he had been out with friends. His attacker or attackers cut off his genitals and stuffed them into his mouth.
The shocking crime has produced a "climate of fear" among LGBT living in the rural community, reports the Pretoria News.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. SA is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality and gay adoption.
Despite these protections, the reality is much different for many Black LGBT South Africans. Life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant. Lesbians, gay men and transgender men and women are often targeted by violent attacks. There are reports of an escalation in violence and so-called "corrective rape" targeting lesbians, reports NPR.
Also: An apparent serial killer has been targeting gay men around Johannesburg. At least eight gay men have been killed during the two year killing spree in Gauteng Province. An arrest was made in March but the investigation has stalled.
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