Night vigils for slain Free State Acting Judge Thamae held nationwide

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Night vigils for the murdered Free State acting judge, Mamello Thamae, have been held in all nine provinces. Thamae was found dead in the boot of a car in Lesotho after she was reported missing last week.

Thamae was allegedly killed by her husband, who is in custody in Lesotho.

Thamae’s husband has appeared in court in Lesotho on a charge of murder, and the case has been postponed to the ninth of October.

Slain Judge Thamae has been described by members of the law fraternity as a dedicated professional who left an imprint on the law profession.

Speakers at the night vigil held in Bloemfontein in her honour say she served the profession with dignity and diligence.

A colleague and friend, Ntswaki Mokhele, says they have lost a rising star who was not shy to address tough matters.

“She was one of the youngest magistrates who were presiding in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s court. She was a young lady who was very tenacious, who was brilliant, and who was very harsh in her teachings because, as other candidates attorneys we are learning that we are in the process of actually working our way to become attorneys. So she was one person or one magistrate who was not polite when it came to teaching; she was very harsh, but if you were a determined person, you would take a lot from her.”

The South African Women’s Lawyers Association says it stands firm against gender-based violence. A member of the association, Tumelo Modise, says they have lost one of the most promising leaders in their profession.

“As the South African Women Lawyers Association, we are saying it’s time to stand up against gender-based violence and against femicide. It’s up to individuals, not only the associations and the courts but the individuals themselves. It starts with us to stand up and say no to gender-based violence.”

Black Lawyers’ Association member Sekonyela Moeketsi says gender-based violence has to be rooted out in all forms in society and at work.

“Because we have, as I have indicated earlier, already launched this campaign as early as last year because ours has a social context to it. It needs to be given a poster that it’s not a battle or a fight for women only; it’s a societal problem that needs to be dealt with from the very beginning. We are fighting in our homes, in our workplace, and in society in the manner in which we should bring up young children of both genders, whether girls or boys.”

Free State Empowerment Institute for Women founder Manneileng Letuka says they stand for united families, but if one is facing abuse in any form, one must leave the toxic environment.

“It’s our biggest enemy. Femicide in South Africa is our biggest enemy, but this is again a call that we should make sure that we unite as a society in combating this scourge.”

The night vigil was attended by members of the EFF and Ace Magashule, a former ANC secretary general who is now a leader of the African Congress for Transformation.