Cape Town - LGBTQIA+ groups have said they are “outraged and disappointed” by the continued lack of political will or urgency that the Department of Justice continues to show towards the Hate Crimes Bill.
The groups were reacting to a digital news conference addressed by Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery on the department's efforts to prevent, combat and prosecute violent attacks against LGBTQIA+ people.
Jeffery said the department’s response to a recent surge in attacks on LGBTQIA+ people had been to establish a National Task Team to look at the cases.
“Out of the 42 pending hate crime cases, approximately 29 hate crime cases were reported from 2020 to date. Of these 29 hate crime cases, 16 are on the court roll with remand dates, with the remaining 13 cases still under investigation,” he said.
Jeffery said the Western Cape had experienced nine murders and three rape cases during that time.
Lesbian, intersex and transgender rights group Iranti’s spokesperson Ntuthuzo Ndzomo said the group was disappointed at the lack of action in the minister’s announcement.
“Given the weekly occurrences of violence and intolerance against the LGBTQIA+ community, we had expected an urgency in the government's response.
“What we are asking for is not exceptional treatment. Our demand for the government to speak out and take action is in recognition that human rights extends to everyone. The right to safety and dignity extends to everyone.”
Triangle Project spokesperson Sharon Cox said the organisation was outraged at what it termed the complete disregard for the lives of LGBTQIA+ people who have been harmed based on prejudice.
“In light of the fact that many of these crimes have been committed by young people, government departments need to be collaborating more closely, instead of working in silos.
“Departments such as Education need to be collaborating and taking a much bolder stand in ensuring that our youth are educated around diversity that exists in our humanity and to ensure that there are changes in attitudes.
“ It is no longer acceptable that matters such as whether diversity on the grounds of orientation, identity and sex characteristics and how people identify are optional as guidelines for schools.
“Our siblings are dying, some at the hands of youth and yet these links don't seem to be made,” said Cox.