Press Release: 16 September 2010
Zoliswa Nkonyana Murder Trial
Issued by the Triangle Project
It has been four long years since the trial of nine men accused of murdering Zoliswa Nkonyana began. Zoliswa was murdered by a gang of men on the 26th February 2006, because she was a lesbian.
In the past four years, in spite of the outrage, the ongoing public protests, the demands and appeals made to the Criminal Justice System from activists and members of the Khayelitsha community, the trial has never been given the priority it deserves. The trial has been subject to ongoing delays due to the unprofessional conduct of the defense attorneys who arrive late or not at all on trial dates and are never held accountable.
Yesterday morning, the trial was once again postponed because a defense attorney had not arrived at court. During this time, four of the accused escaped from their holding cell at the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court.
It is the position of the Triangle Project that this trial should have been finalised a long time ago. If this had been the case, it is unlikely that we would have been reading about the escape of four of the accused in the news today. The lack of urgency has also meant that security was never high on the agenda.
Today counsel for the accused who escaped have all withdrawn their legal representation on the basis that they do not have instructions from their clients, which only means further delays if the four accused are caught and brought back into custody.
We are also deeply concerned about the safety of the witnesses, one of whom is a surviving victim of the attack which resulted in the murder of Zoliswa. We are also concerned about the impact that this will have on Zoliswa’s mother and family.
We demand the police give priority to locating and arresting the four accused who have escaped.
We demand that priority be given to ensuring the protection and safety of the surviving witness and the lesbian community in Khayelitsha.
The escape of accused standing trial from courts is unjustifiable. We want the escape investigated and surety that Khayelitsha and other courts in South Africa will put in place measures to ensure that no accused standing trial ever has the opportunity to escape.
We demand that the Court put in place sanctions for attorneys who continue to derail the justice system.
Lastly, we demand that now, after four years, the trial into the murder of Zoliswa Nkonyana finally be given the priority it deserves.
Unit 29 Waverley Business Park,
Dane Street, Mowbray 7700
PO Box 13935, Mowbray 7705;
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For further information and / or comment, contact Jill Henderson. Tel: 021 448 3812
Research, Advocacy & Policy Programme Co-ordinator
Physical Address: Unit 29 Waverley Business Park, Dane Street, Mowbray 7700Postal Address: PO Box 13935, Mowbray, 7705Tel 021 4483812 Fax 021 4484089 Email:
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