Thabo Molefe gets a slap on the wrist for raping and murdering Thembelihle Sokela
Thabo Molefe in tears, after being found guilty for raping and killing Thembelihle Sokhela. Photo by Kokeletso Legoete
Justice fails the LGBTI community
By Legoete Kokeletso
December 2015. On Wednesday 30 July 2015 at the Pretoria North Magistrate’s court, Judge Mokgosi sentenced Thembelihle Sokhela’s rapist and murderer to 22 years in Jail. Regardless of the other multiple previous convictions under his name, dated from 1983, for house breaking with intent to steal; malicious damage to properties; assault with intent to harm; indecent assault of two young boys with anal penetration and many others; as well as repeated parole violations, Thabo Molefe is sentenced to 22 years in jail for rape and murder.
Thembelihle Sokhela, a 28 year old lesbian’s lifeless body was found wrapped in a blanket, in her perpetrator’s bedroom, in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg. She was found on the floor with blood coming out her nostrils, her body already decomposing due to the heat.
Thembelihle’s case, from its onset has proved the failure of the South African Government in addressing hate crime cases. The case had been handled by three investigating officers, yet essential part of the evidence was never included in the docket as well as several postponements in court without valid reasons. Thembelihle’s underwear and boxer short that were found by her aunt later after the police left the crime scene were never included in the case.
According to Thabo’s statement, Thembelihle died early hours of Monday the 15th, however he only reported the incident on the 16th. He spent a night with a lifeless decomposing body in the same house. Thabo claims that he was in a relationship with the deceased.
To date, we do not know for sure, what the deceased was doing in his bedroom; how she got there, why he strangled, raped and killed her; why he dint report the incident immediately as he claims that it was never his intentions to kill her.
“This is madness; I cannot put to words how angry this makes me. The Duduzile Zozo and Disebo Makau cases should have been used as reference in this case. Where is the rapid response team when they are needed? This needs to be appealed,” said Kokeletso Legoete, Esset’s Gender coordinator.