17 February 2021, Atteridgeville Magistrates Court, community members, family and friends expressed anger, frustration, and disappointment towards the most recent reported case of the premeditated act of hate crime towards a young lesbian woman (19 years old) who was raped near her home in late December 2020 by 3 alleged male suspects. The motive of the crime linked to the survivor’s sexual orientation and gender expression was recorded in this case. In two previous Court proceeding, two of the alleged perpetrators pleaded guilty, one perpetrator pleaded innocent. Today, the perpetrator who pleaded innocent was released. The case has been remanded to 28 April 2021 pending further investigation. The survivor asserts that there were 3 male perpetrators. The police are charged with the responsibility to further investigate who the third perpetrator is.
Access Chapter 2 commends prosecutors from Atteridgeville Magistrates Court for ensuring there is progress on the case, however, the organisation emphasis on the broader picture and current state of affairs where many survivors of rape in South Africa do not receive justice, refrain from reporting incidences of gender-based violence or fear seeking help due to the anxiety of secondary victimisation, discrimination, or rejection. Swift redress approach is needed in many of the cases that are reported and the justice system should never delay a just approach.
Access Chapter 2 calls for immediate intervention from all stakeholders including SAPS to put pressure on those that have pleaded guilty of this barbaric act.
Efforts to change occurrences of corrective rape have been insufficient, Government of SA should ensure prevention efforts are upscaled. It is time we face the harsh reality, there is still much that needs to be done to impact change in society and that key stakeholders should take a much needed action to deal with the challenges of social fabric including in the NSP for GBV launched by the President in this current approach. Corrective rape goes against a myriad of Constitutional Rights and shows that human rights alone are insufficient. There is need for action, change and accountability in society!
Steve Letsike, executive director at Access Chapter 2 stated “We are not seeing any significant changes and are still fighting the same battle of hate crimes for more than 2 decades.” There is need for reform and a strategic approach in ending gender-based violence, femicide, hate crimes and corrective rape. The constitutional court should make a judgement that is just and protects the constitution of South Africa. Too many people disrespects the law, and too many people are not held accountable. Law enforcement, the rule of law and accountability should take shape in South Africa”.
Access Chapter 2 will continue to monitor the case, support the young lesbian woman and her family, and will track the role of SAPS and NPA on this case including the many other cases reported to AC2. AC2 will also continue to provide support in the form of legal assistance and linkages to health and psycho-social support to the LGBTI community and their families.