Man accused of killing Cape Town lesbian may have faced previous criminal charges

2016-12-07 16:07
Members of Triangle non-profit outside court (James de Villiers, News 24).

Members of Triangle non-profit outside court (James de Villiers, News 24).

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Cape Town - The suspect accused of murdering a lesbian from Khayelitsha at the weekend, sparking fears that she was targeted because of her sexuality, may have been previously charged with other crimes, it emerged in the Blue Downs Regional Court on Wednesday.

Signice Mdani, 24, made his first court appearance on Wednesday in connection with the murder of 22-year-old Noluvuyo Swelindawo.

Swelindawo's body was found at a footbridge near the Driftsands Nature Reserve on Sunday.

Mdani was arrested on Monday.

During Mdani's court appearance on Wednesday, Magistrate Vincent Ketye denied the State's request for a postponement so that it could complete a proper profile of him.

Prosecutor Nathan Adrianse said: "The State only has an indication of the previous charges against the suspect and needs to follow up to see where the suspect has been found guilty."

But defence attorney Samanth Hendricks argued that the State had had more than enough time to do a proper profile.

"The suspect was arrested on the 5th of December at 14:00 and today is the 7th, which means there were two days for the State to do research,” she said.

Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, LGBT activists from the Triangle organisation voiced their frustration over threats they faced because of their sexuality.

"Rape happens to lesbians every day, but most of them are too scared to come forward," said Sindiswa Thafeni, who identifies as a lesbian herself.

"Rape against lesbians is not seen as a serious case by the police – only when there’s murder involved."

Swelindawo was a member of Triangle and attended their weekly LGBT meetings in Driftsand.

"I am still shaken by the incident, it feels unreal – as if she is still alive," a meeting leader, Zuko Mnukwa, said.

Mdani's bail application was set for December 21.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gay rights  |  crime

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