Lesbian murder trial to start in Strand

Activists are demanding that the state explain why the accused is not in jail

Photo of Strand Magistrates Court

The Strand Magistrate’s Court set the trial for Bongile Joni to 2 July in the regional court. Photo: Barbara Maregele

By Barbara Maregele

26 June 2018

The trial involving a man charged with murdering 23-year-old Noxolo Xakeka, allegedly because she was lesbian, is set to start in the Strand Regional Court next month.

Bongile Joni is accused of stabbing Xakeka in the early hours of 1 January 2018. She died in hospital a few hours later.

On Tuesday, Joni made a brief appearance in the Strand Magistrate’s Court. The case was transferred to the regional court where he is due to appear on 2 July.

It is the state’s case that Xakeka was attending a party with her partner less than 250 metres from her home. It is alleged that Joni harassed her by making “derogatory comments” about her sexual orientation. An argument between the two escalated into a physical altercation.

Witnesses say Xakeka hit Joni with a plank and he stabbed her twice. She died in hospital hours later.

At a previous court hearing, activists from the Triangle Project and Free Gender handed a petition to the court asking that Joni be arrested and kept in jail. This is because Joni was released on a warning. Despite the serious nature of his charge, Joni did not have to pay bail and was not jailed.

On Tuesday, the Triangle Project’s Carol Lennon told GroundUp that the organisation was in the process of obtaining the court transcripts of Joni’s first appearance which took place on 4 January 2018. “We are trying to figure out how the decision was made to let him go on a warning. The witnesses are still living in that community,” she said.

The case will return to court on 2 July.