Twenty-two-year-old Swelindawo was abducted, assaulted and shot dead in a suspected hate crime. Picture: Supplied
Twenty-two-year-old Swelindawo was abducted, assaulted and shot dead in a suspected hate crime. Picture: Supplied

Deputy Minister steps in to protect murdered lesbian's partner

By Siyavuya Mzantsi Time of article published Dec 9, 2016

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Cape Town - Police officers investigating the murder of 22-year-old Noluvo Swelindawo conceded they had been dragging their feet in providing Swelindawo’s partner, Nqabisa Mkatali, with protection from the suspects who are still at large.

This emerged after Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu visited Swelindawo’s family and friends in Driftsands on Thursday.

Swelindawo was shot dead after being abducted and assaulted in a suspected hate crime at the weekend. Her bloodied body was found about 200m from her Driftsands home on Sunday. She was with Mkatali when a group of men broke into her house. Mkatali escaped by hiding under the bed while the men assaulted Swelindawo.

Sotyu said: “I met with her aunt and her friend (Mkatali). She confirmed Mkatali had not received counselling and had not been provided with protection even though her cousin had been held at gunpoint by someone who wanted to know where she was.” But she said the issue of Mkatali’s security was now being addressed. The deputy minister added counselling had also been arranged: “I am not sure whether they started yesterday or whether they will start today. I spoke to her and she told me that it has been addressed.

“It was only after Mkatali revealed what she had seen that they realised how serious the matter was and how important it was to protect her.”

Sotyu’s intervention came after lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights organisation Triangle Project contacted Mkatali to offer her counselling.

But Sotyu denied reports the incident was a hate crime, suggesting instead that Swelindawo had been murdered following “conflict” with the perpetrator.

“These are people who know each other. “

Sotyu said the perpetrator had fought with Mkatali over a bottle of beer. She said family of Mkatali had then fought with friends of the perpetrator.

Meanwhile, the case against 24-year-old Sigcine Mdani, who has been charged with Swelindawo’s murder, was postponed to December 21. Sotyu said the police were hot on the heels of other suspects.

Cape Times

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