Durban man shot and killed on Freedom Day for 'being gay'

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Musa Xulu was killed in an alleged hate crime on Freedom Day
Musa Xulu was killed in an alleged hate crime on Freedom Day
  • A Durban man was shot and killed on Freedom Day, allegedly because he was gay.
  • Musa Xulu was at an Engen garage in Inanda when he was shot in the chest.
  • Xulu was described as a loving and warm person.

A Durban man, who was coming home from a day of revelry and socialising, was brazenly shot and killed at an Engen garage parking lot on Freedom Day - apparently for being gay, 

Musa Xulu, 25, was described as a loving, warm and innocent young man.

He was declared dead shortly after he was shot in Newtown A, Inanda, on 27 April.

LGBTQI+ activist Hlengiwe Buthelezi on Thursday denounced the incident, saying there were not enough convictions of those who perpetrated hate crimes.

She claimed there had been around 25 people killed in recent years due to hate crimes, with little progress in courts.

"The Lindo Cele case is one of the few we saw to the finish," said Buthelezi.

Cele, an LGBTQI+ activist, was stabbed 21 times by Mvuyisi Noguda, and then left for dead with a blade lodged in his eye. 

Noguda is serving a 25-year prison term for his crimes. He claimed that Cele had drugged and raped him at a New Year's Eve party. When he saw him at the shops much later, he stabbed him. The court rejected this defence.

READ | LGBTQ+ leaders warn of renewed wave of hostility

Buthelezi said many cases don't go far enough in court processes.

"There are other cases following that... there are a whole lot of names. Yes, the cases go to court, [but] they disappear. I will always call on leadership, starting from national. A Hate Crimes Bill is a bill that will help us when it comes to convictions.

"We need the justice system to step up properly. After arrests, we find that they get bail and then nothing happens, the cases disappear."

The fact that Xulu was brazenly shot on Freedom Day was an indication that many rights only existed in theory, Buthelezi added.

She said:

Musa was a young guy and he did not deserve to die like that. We need a conviction, not just an arrest. He had his future ahead of him and he is gone. We have rights... he was celebrating Freedom day - but, after this, we feel we only have freedom in books. We are not free, we cannot walk the streets.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said police were investigating a case of murder.

No arrests have been made.

He was an innocent young man

Siphokazi Mvokwe, a branch leader of the ANC in Ward 44 in eThekwini, said the youth in the community were shocked by the killing.

She said the accounts by witnesses of his death were harrowing.

"I was not there on the day, but people who were there said they were coming from a party, and a guy in the parking lot of the garage labelled Musa 'gay'. He apparently said, 'I forget you are gay', and he shot him on the spot for no other reason, just because he was gay.

"There was no fight, there was no disagreement. He was just killed because of his sexual orientation, something he does not even have a choice in. It was one bullet straight to the heart."

ALSO READ | First openly gay Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil shares his mission to end conversion therapy

Mvokwe, who also organised a demonstration on Wednesday to the police station, to call for action in Xulu's case, said it was vital that the perpetrator was arrested.

"They must find and arrest the suspect. How many other people will he kill?"

She said Xulu never sought "any trouble".

"He was working at a creche, doing admin, and was the principal of the creche also. He was working and living there because his parents live in Empangeni. He was a very good and kind person, who loved people and loved to socialise."

The regional coordinator for the ANC Youth League in eThekwini, Thulisa Ndlela, said they were bringing political pressure to bear on authorities to see justice for Xulu and others like him.

"The choices he made are protected in the Constitution. His sexuality has nothing to do with anything. There is no reason for someone to wake up and say they cannot be in the same establishment as a gay or lesbian person.

"We are highlighting this case as one of many. It is high time, as society, we started raising awareness in the community as a whole. We are appealing to the community and members of the public to broadly stand up and fight against hate crimes."

In July 2021, Deputy Justice and Constitutional Development Minister John Jeffery provided an update on the efforts of the department to prevent, combat and prosecute such crimes.

Jeffery said there were 42 pending hate crime cases. Of the 42 pending cases, 30 were for murder and 12 for rape.

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