South Africa: Government condemns anti-LGBT violence following attack

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The South African Government has stated its opposition to anti-LGBT violence, following an attack on a gay man in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, which left him missing part of one ear.

Lunga Voko, 23, was stripped and beaten by a group of men who followed him in a car on March 31, on his way home from celebrating his birthday.

“They got out of the car and started asking me questions like why I’m a moffie (gay man), but I wouldn’t answer them,” he told the South African Times. “The next thing one of the guys slapped me and another attacked me with an iron rod, while the others gathered half bricks.”

Mr Voko lost consciousness during the attack, but witnesses reported that his assailants stripped him to see if he was circumcised. One man then pulled out a gun and shot at Mr Voko, tearing part of his ear off.

He was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital and later discharged. He claims that police were initially unwilling to help him, but that they eventually tracked the car’s license plate.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said yesterday: “Government condemns in the strongest terms possible and reiterates its commitment to fight all forms of hate crimes perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and inter-sex people in South Africa.

“As government we are committed to fight all forms of crime, including violence against gay and lesbian people. The South African Police Service are currently investigating the case and we are confident that justice shall prevail.”

On Friday South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said: “I can’t be accused of homophobia because I don’t know any homosexuals,” and went on to call the promotion of gay rights by the US “a new kind of slavery”.

Last week a South African gay couple were married in a Zulu and Tswana ceremony, which they said they hoped would discourage homophobia by showing that “Being gay is as African as being black.”

In March a 65-year-old gay man was killed following an online date in Cape Town.