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23-Year Old Beheaded In Anti-Gay Hate Crime Murder In South Africa

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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. Thapelo Makutle, who was 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 that 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 didn’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 don’t even know what a hate crime is. If you ask them if it was related to his sexuality they will say ‘no’ 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 statement in response to the murder, by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, Democratic Alliance 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.

Hat-tip: Towleroad

 

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OPINION

Chris Wallace ‘Sad’ How Debate ‘Turned Out’: ‘Never Dreamt That It Would Go Off the Tracks’

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Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who more than most at the right wing cable network stands up to President Donald Trump, was exceptionally passive in his moderation of the first presidential debate of 2020.

He was equally passive in how he discussed and described his performance.

“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace passively told The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum.

“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he continued, appearing to take no responsibility for what was overwhelmingly described on social media Tuesday night as a “shit show.”

Continuing down the path of passivity, Wallace lamented it was “a terrible missed opportunity.”

“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” he added. “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”

There in fact was every reason to believe Trump would do what he did Tuesday night – bully, attack, threaten, lie, talk over his opponent, talk over the moderator, refuse to answer direct questions, and embarrass the nation – because he’s done it before, to varying degrees.

“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace says.

He also refused to blame the president for destroying the entire debate.

Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”

Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”

Wallace seems keenly aware of the power of public opinion, and clearly allowed that to impact his role.

“People have to remember, and too many people forget, both of these candidates have the support of tens of millions of Americans.”

The heads of Fox News, the Murdoch family, praised Wallace, issued a memo supporting him, and toasted him.

Wallace does not seem to have any regrets.

“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Mr. Wallace said, in conclusion. “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”

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AT THE VERY LEAST

Debate Commission Will Let Moderators Cut Candidates’ Mics

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After President Donald Trump wholly ignored both the debate rules he agreed to and the moderator he agree to, the Committee on Presidential Debates said it would examine options to get control him.

They have.

The Commission will allow future debate moderators to cut candidates’ microphones if they deem necessary, according to CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.

That would be one option of several moderators can expect to be given – it’s unclear if the candidates will have to agree to the updated rules.

The Commission issued a statement Wednesday in response to the disaster caused by President Trump. The organization said Tuesday’s “debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

They have vowed they “are going to be making changes” to avoid a replay of last night’s out of control catastrophe.

President Trump turned the debate into what many called a “shit show.”

 

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News

Federal Judge Orders Barr to Release Redacted Portions of Mueller Report

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A federal judge has ordered the Dept. of Justice to publish redacted portions of the Mueller report after determining Attorney General Bill Barr had not met his burden to satisfy keeping the information privileged.

“Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote, as The Hill reports.

The redactions are important. They detail the process by which Mueller’s team decided to charge or not charge individuals with crimes. The full extent of who that includes in the report is not known, but there was great discussion after the report was released about why President Donald Trump had not been charged.

Judge Walton was appointed by President George W. Bush.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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