A 23-year old transgender and gay man was beheaded in his home town of Kuruman, South Africa Friday, in an anti-gay hate crime.Â Thapelo Makutle,Â who wasÂ crowned Miss Gay Kuruman, was murdered by two men who remain at large. Reports state that police, for reasons of language and training, are not classifying the murder as a hate crime, and do not understand the significance of the attack. On report states the police reject thatÂ Makutle was beheaded, but acknowledge his throat was slashed.
Mamba Online reports:
According to the group Legbo Northern Cape, Thapelo Makutle was attacked at his place of work in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district on Friday. The organisation said that there was an argument related to “his sexuality and homosexuality”.
His two attackers are believed to have followed him to the room where he lived and on Saturday cut his throat, decapitating him.
They left his body under a blanket as though he were sleeping.
Makutle, who identified as both gay and transgender, was a volunteer for Legbo Northern Cape. He recently participated in the Kimberley Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Festival, was known as a beauty queen named Queen Bling and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman.
“It’s so sad. I can’t describe the pain that we are feeling right now,” Shaine Griqua, director of Legbo Northern Cape, told Mambaonline. “We have lost a young, talented, gay man who was open about who he was. The last few days have been like a dark cloud.”
He said that no arrests have yet been made in connection with the murder. He expressed his frustration with the lack of support for LGBT people in the Northern Cape and noted that hate crimes are on the rise in the province.
“We recently had a lesbian stabbed three times in a bar because they said that she should be a woman and not a man. She chose not to press charges because she didnâ€™t want her family involved,” Griqua said.
“The government is not interested in this problem,” he added.
A later report form Mamba Online states:
According to the Mothibistad police, Thapelo Makutle’s body was found lying on the floor of his rented room. It is alleged that the victim has been out with his friends that night. He left unannounced and his friends assumed that he had gone home to sleep.
Shaine Griqua, Director of Legbo Northern Cape, who first reported the attack, said that confusion around the state of the body likely stems from miscommunication due to most people in the area not speaking English as a first language.
Griqua believes that the attack was a hate crime and said that he has information that Makutle was killed as a result of an argument about his sexuality and gender appearance, but police have yet to confirm this, saying that the motive is as yet unknown.
He told Mambaonline that the police in the area are ill-equipped to deal appropriately with a hate crime.
“These people [the police] are not reliable. They donâ€™t even know what a hate crime is. If you ask them if it was related to his sexuality they will say â€˜noâ€™ because they don’t understand the context,” Griqua insisted.
Global Post adds:
In a statement, Cosatu’s Northern Cape secretary Anele Gxoyiya condemned “this brutal attack on a young, brilliant and educated soul whose head was chopped off in a hate crime.”
While South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to extend equal rights to homosexuals, and the only nation in Africa to allow same-sex marriage, the reality of life in townships and rural areas for gays and lesbians has been one of often brutal violence.
In a high-profile incident last year, Noxolo Nogwaza, a lesbian activist based in KwaThema township near Johannesburg, was gang-raped and then stabbed and stoned to death, in what the New York-based group Human Rights Watch described as part of an “epidemic” of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in South Africa.
Politics Web published a statementÂ in response to the murder, byÂ Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, Democratic AllianceÂ Parliamentary Leader:
This violent and gruesome assault is yet another reminder that many of our country’s people are still denied the basic rights and freedoms which our Constitution enshrines.
There is a spate of homophobic hate crimes which have recently taken place across our country, including the repugnant and unconscionable crime of so-called “corrective rape” committed against lesbian South African women.
At this time, South Africa needs strong leadership from President Jacob Zuma, and an indication of his commitment to ensuring that all South Africans are able to live their lives free from fear of discrimination or violence.
Unfortunately, the silence from the Presidency has been deafening. This silence is made worse by the fact that President Zuma has in the past shown himself to be prejudiced towards homosexuals.
Last year, the DA welcomed the establishment of a government-led Joint Task Team on a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Intervention Strategy”, established in September 2011, under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Unfortunately, this task team has yet to make any report on its work.
Meanwhile, the spate of crimes continues.
President Zuma must speak out against this weekend’s horrific murder, and the many others like it, which are in danger of becoming all too commonplace in our country today.
I will today be calling for a debate in Parliament about the prevalence of these crimes in South Africa, and calling on MPs to discuss what can be done by the government to address this ongoing problem.
In addition, I will also be writing to the President to ask what immediate steps his government will be taking to address the violence and intimidation that homosexual South Africans must face on a daily basis.
Such crimes, and the President’s silence on them, cannot be allowed to continue.
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Watch: Trump Stunned When Asked if He Regrets ‘All the Lying You’ve Done to the American People?’ at ‘News’ Conference
President Donald Trump was asked an unusual question during his supposed “news” briefing Thursday evening.
“After three and a half years, do you regret at all, all the lying that you’ve done to the American people?” HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asked. The briefing was carried live on Fox News, but not on MSNBC or CNN.
“All the what?” a startled President Trump asked.
“All the lying, all the dishonesties,” Dáte repeated.
“And who is that?” Trump, still stunned, asked.
“You have done,” Dáte repeated again.
“Ah… Go ahead, please,” Trump said, pointing to another reporter, refusing to answer the original question.
Wow. A reporter (I'm not sure who he is) asks Trump, "after three and a half years, do you regret all the lying you've done to the American people?" Trump quickly moves on to the next question. pic.twitter.com/DHn3UvXHnN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2020
Minutes earlier, Dáte posted these important tweets:
Again, this is purely a campaign speech, attacking Joe Biden and nothing else so far, reading off some speech on the lectern.
Someone wrote those remarks. If WH employees have written those or vetted those, they are violating the Hatch Act.
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) August 13, 2020
Trump Calls for ‘A Certain Freedom’ to Wear Masks or Not – and Lies That Biden’s Coronavirus Policies Are ‘Anti-Scientific’
President Donald Trump tried to contrast his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the deaths of nearly 170,000 Americans, against former Vice President Joe Biden, who has called for strong measures far earlier than Trump ever did.
On Thursday Biden called on the nation’s governors to issue across the board mask mandates. Trump, in a campaign speech delivered under the false pretense of a coronavirus news conference, attacked his Democratic rival, and falsely claimed Biden had called for a national mask mandate instituted by presidential decree.
Trump, who misuses the power of his office regularly, claimed he did not think a President has the power to mandate mask wearing (he or she does.)
“Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing. The estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. Forty thousand lives, if people act responsibly,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, referring to scientific studies. “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
“To Joe, I would say stop playing politics with the virus. Too serious. Partisan politics has no place here,” the president says while delivering an attack on his election opponent from the White House briefing room.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 13, 2020
Trump offered a different take on mask-wearing, saying “maybe they’re great and maybe they’re good and maybe they’re not so good, but frankly, what do you have to lose?” and adding, “we want to have a certain freedom,” to wear or not masks, “that’s what we’re about.”
A sleepy-sounding Trump explains that he’s against a national mask mandate because he thinks people should “have a certain freedom.” pic.twitter.com/Hv0fVDzjSS
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2020
Trump’s Postmaster General Removing Hundreds of Mail Sorting Machines – Before the Biggest Vote By Mail Election Ever: Report
President Donald Trump’s Postmaster General is quietly removing mail sorting machines and has scheduled the removal of hundreds more from USPS facilities across the country. The action, which is both unprecedented and unexplained, comes barely months before the 2020 November election, which begins in weeks when early voting starts in some states.
“In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots, calling into question promises made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that the USPS has ‘ample capacity’ to handle the predicted surge in mail-in ballots,” VICE’s Motherboard reports. “Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future.”
That may not seem like a lot, and as Motherboard notes, “the Postal Service operates hundreds of distribution facilities around the country.”
But The Guardian’s voting rights reporter Sam Levine has posted what he reports is a letter and attached spreadsheets detailing where literally hundreds of USPS machines are slated to be removed, from where, and when.
Here is a June 17 USPS letter outlining where the agency plans to reduce mail sorting equipment https://t.co/FUqzoMhbNh
— Sam Levine (@srl) August 13, 2020
NCRM examined the spreadsheets, which refer to the removal of a total of 671 mail sorting machines with names like Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSMs), and Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCSs).
These are used to sort mostly letter-sized, flat mail pieces – the exact kind that, say, voting ballots would be sent in.
The letter, which was sent to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, cites only the “reduction in letter and flat mail volume,” but does not say why the machines are being removed now. The schedule calls for all 671 machines to be removed by September 30, which in some states is when or just after early voting begins.
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