by Melanie Nathan, Dec 28, 2011
The five year long trial of the men found guilty of murdering lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana continues its untenable delays.
After over 40 delays, and five years of mayhem, including escapes and recaptures, in a trial reflecting incompetency by police and justice system, finally it seems that the sentencing of Lubabalo Ntlabathi, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Londzi and Mbulelo Damba is set for 30 January 2012 by the Khayelitsha Magistrates’ Court.
Civil society groups have filed a legal complaint demanding Premier Helen Zille institute a commission of inquiry into the Khayelitsha criminal justice system.
In October the men were found guilty of stoning and stabbing 19-year-old Nkonyana to death back in 2006 in Khayelitsha. The motive for the murder was because she was a lesbian.
The Cape Times reported that on Tuesday during the sentence phase, Londzi told magistrate Radia Wethan that he wanted to “go to school and further my studies”. “Maybe one day I can be a policeman. I also want to go to initiation school. I want to assist my parents,” he said. Londzi denies having murdered Nkonyana and has asked the court for mercy.
When asked by prosecuting attorney Anthea Allchin what sentence he deserved, Damba also denied having anything to do with the murder. “I sympathise with the family because I am human. I think they should accept what happened to them,” said Damba.
Allchin replied: “It’s hard for them to accept it when you and your co-accused don’t accept responsibility.” She accused the men of killing Nkonyana because “she was a lesbian. That’s the reason why she was attacked. And that’s why you didn’t like her”.
I personally attended the trial when I was in Cape Town back in March. My experience can be found in an earlier post at http://gayusathemovie.com/2011/10/justice-delayed-for-zoliswa-nkonyana-is-justice-denied-for-all-lesbians/
“We were glared at by onlookers; vicious insults were hurled at us as we walked the dusty street of the township from the bus to the courthouse and back. A crowd of LGBTI activists, bravely adorning anti-rape T-Shirts, had grown outside the courtroom. They danced in a large circle and in warlike fashion, peacefully pointed in unison at the Court, chanting their impromptu admonishment at the system, for its tardy attempt at justice.”