Arrests have reportedly been made in the alleged homophobic murder of a young woman in Evaton North, in Gauteng, over the festive season.
“We have been informed that [four] suspects have been arrested,” Cedric Davids of Youth Communists’ League (YCL) told The Citizen.
Davids said Motshidisi Pascalina, aged between 18 and 20, was found in an open field near her home on December 18, 2015, and her body was found tied up, with eyes, breasts and vagina mutilated and her body set alight.
Davids said YCL and the Vaal Triangle LGBTI community marched to the Mafatsana Police Station in Evaton North on Tuesday to demand justice for Pascalina and hand over a memorandum to emphasise the need for police to intensify effort in their management of homophobic hate crimes
“At this point in time it is very unclear if police categorise the incident as a hate crime,” Davids told The Citizen.
He said it was not the first time that there had been such an incident in the Sedibeng District, as there were two other rapes against lesbian women, including one reported in the area of Bophelong.
In response to the march, #MotshidisiPascalina trended on Twitter on Tuesday as many expressed their shock and anger at the murder as well as the gruesome details that emerged.
LGBT+ organisation OUT last year called for the urgent need for specific legislation to address hate crimes in South Africa, which they argued “warrants the attention of both government, civil society and other actors, as the ongoing violence spurred by prejudice is unlikely to abate without focused effort from all stakeholders”.
In a statement, they identified to factors that defined a hate crime. “The first is that the act is considered a crime under existing South African criminal law – such as intimidation, arson, damage to property, assault, rape or murder. The second is that the act is motivated in whole or in part by prejudice or hatred regarding an aspect of the victim’s identity – such as race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation.”
“At present there is no official monitoring of these types of crimes, with the consequence that it is left out of government statistics.”
The Citizen was unable to receive further details on the incident at the time of publication.