You would be forgiven for thinking there was a movie shoot happening outside the Khayelitsha Megistrate’s Court today. The place was crawling with journalist, photographers, protestors from the community and NGO’s mainly the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Socail Justice Coalision (SJC), Free Gender and Triangle Project, camera men and media vans all parked outside, eagerly awaiting the sentencing of the four men accused of murdering the 19 year old Zoliswa Nonkonyana more then five years ago.
The accused Mbulelo Damba, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Lunzi and lubabalo were each sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder of Zoliswa Nonkoyana who was living openly as a lesbain in Khayelitsha. As the megistrate handed her judgement she explained that she took into consideration the following issues.
- The anger demonstrated by the community members at the deliberate murder of the victim for living openly as a lesbain.
- The motive behind the murder was because of her sexaul orientation.
- She also took into consederation the support given to the accused by their family members signalising that they were still very much loved by their family
- She also noted the accused age’s at the time of their arrest, stating that two were under 16 and two were just 17 years of age, she also stated that she would sentence them according to the ages they were at the time of their arrest.
- She also mentioned the fact that under the amended Child Protection Act (2008) charges such as this one aren’t covered.
- And the fact that the accused never showed any remourse during the court case.
After taking all of this into consideration she then handed over the sentence, as she gave her sentencing the court went dead quite, you could hear a pin drop. And as they heard their sentences you could see the shock on the accused faces, as the crowd cheered at the announcement of the sentencing finally putting an end to the five year struggle in getting justice for Zoliswa’s family.
The clearly distraught mother of Zoliswa could not handle the pressure of the media as they all swarmed her to be the first to get her statement. Lumkile Sizila had to shield her away from the media but Zoliswa’s step dad was willing to give a statement. The 45 year old Cinumzi Mandidi expressed his joy as he explained to the media “all we wanted was for justice to be served and today it has been served.”