Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) activists in KwaZulu-Natal have welcomed the arrest of a suspect in connection with the murder of Durban woman, Anele Bhengu.
The 28-year-old’s body was found in bushes near a friend’s home in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban.
Her stomach was cut open and her throat was slit, in what her family believes is a homophobic-related crime.
LGBTQI activist Nonhlanhla Mkhize says: “I think the level of brutality that is being used just begs the question of what is going on in society. Why are we violating people’s bodies. Why are we killing lesbians and gays.”
“There’s an alarming number of cases that are being reported that are alleged hate crimes and we rightly allege them hate crimes because if you look at the barbaric nature, the brutality that comes with it. You do not just rape a body, you could go as far as mutilating it. You are basically sending a message out that anyone else that identifies as, should be scared,” adds Mkhize.
On Thursday members of the police’s Tactical Response Team accompanied Margate detectives to the suspect’s home in the rural area.
Bhengu’s murder brings the killing of LGBTIQ community members under the spotlight:
KwaZulu-Natal Police spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele says when the police approached the house, the suspect fled into the bushes. The officers gave chase and arrested him.
Mbhele says the suspect will appear in the Umbumbulu Magistrate’s Court soon.
Bhengu’s murder has been widely condemned. This crime and the murder of two gay men in Durban over the past year have also been met with fear and condemnation within the LGBTQI community.