Women protest outside Durbans City Hall after a lesbian was raped and killed in KwaMashu. The protesters claimed the government was not protecting gay citizens. Picture: Mthobisi Mbanjwa

The murder of a Durban woman has angered the gay and lesbian community, who are demanding government take hate crimes more seriously.

Nqobile Khumalo, 23, went missing on May 4 and her body was found in a shallow grave near her parents’ home in KwaMashu’s F-Section two days later, said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge.

A man has been arrested in connection with her murder and is in Westville Prison awaiting a bail application.

Khumalo’s funeral was held in KwaMashu on Saturday.

Police say they have no knowledge of Khumalo’s murder being linked to her being a lesbian. But Lexit - an organisation that defends the rights of lesbian and bisexual women - claims Khumalo was killed because of her sexual preference.

The organisation staged a protest outside the Durban City Hall yesterday, singing and waving placards, to show anger at the murder.

“This is part of a nationwide protest because many lesbians are being raped and killed yet nothing is being done,” said chairwoman Thobeka Khoza.

“We will continue to protest until something is done about this. In KZN, at least eight lesbians have been raped and murdered but their attackers have not been caught.

“The government is not protecting us and our rights.”

Offenders needed to be prosecuted for hate crimes in addition to murder, she said.

Khumalo’s mother and her girlfriend were too traumatised to speak to the Daily News yesterday.

Mdunge said police did not group crimes according to the public’s sexual preference: “All cases are given the same priority and a human being is a human being.

“Both nationally and provincially, crimes against women and children are regarded as priority crimes and viewed in a serious light.”

Kekeletso Khena of The White Flag Campaign, wants government to condemn the killing of lesbians:

“Clearly our votes don’t mean enough… They must stand up and say something is wrong with this barbaric act.” - Daily News