South African Task Team Established to Address Hate Crimes Against LGBTI Persons

Published: May 4, 2011

The South African Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development has set up a national task team to tackle hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) South Africans. The announcement comes in the wake of the rape and murder of Noxolo Nogwaza.

The move follows a call by 170 000 activists around the world, who demanded corrective action on ‘corrective’ rape, which is an increasingly common hate crime in which men rape lesbian women to ‘turn’ them straight or ‘cure’ them of their sexual orientation.

The justice ministry made the announcement on Tuesday during a meeting in Parliament of senior officials from the ministry, non-profit organisations, SAPS and Social Development, with grassroots activists, who used the social action platform, Change.org, to recruit a record-breaking 170 000 supporters from people in 163 countries.

The decision also follows the recent murder of Noxolo Nogwaza, a 24-year-old lesbian, who died after being stoned, stabbed with broken glass and gang raped in Kwa-Thema, outside Johannesburg.

The department’s chief of staff, who led the meeting, Tlali Tlali, explained that the task team, which will formally begin its deliberations on 15 July 2011, will include six government representatives from the judiciary, SAPS and Social Development and six representatives of the LGBTI community with grassroots support.

"The team will be charged with developing a legislative intervention plan, a public awareness strategy, and LGBTI sensitive shelters," said Tlali.

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