Diego Jacobs, the victim of a suspected LGBTIQ+ hate crime, was set to start a new job this week (Photos: Facebook)
Activists say that the brutal murder of 21-year-old Diego Jacobs in Cape Town underscores the urgent need to enact the Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.
According to reports, Jacobs was brutally attacked in the early hours of Saturday, February 3rd, in Delft. Accompanied by two friends, he was walking home when he encountered a former neighbour who had previously harassed him about his queer identity.
Despite Jacobs’ efforts to avoid a confrontation and walk away, the suspect allegedly attacked him, using anti-LGBTIQ+ slurs and fatally stabbing him in the neck with a knife. A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder.
In a statement, OUT LGBT Well-being said it was deeply saddened and outraged by the tragic and senseless murder.
“As Cape Town prepares to commemorate Pride this month, we stand in solidarity with Diego’s family and friends, and we condemn this heinous act of violence in the strongest possible terms,” expressed OUT’s Civil Society Engagement Officer, Sibonelo Ncanana.
“No individual should ever face violence or discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges and dangers faced by LGBTIQ+ individuals in South Africa,” he continued.
OUT said the attack raises questions about the lack of action in enacting the long-awaited Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. While it was passed by Parliament early in December last year, the bill continues to await President Ramaphosa’s signature.
“We once again call on the President to take action and assent to the bill urgently, before any more lives are lost to hate and intolerance,” asserted Ncanana.
Cape Town-based queer organisation Triangle Project also urged the President to sign the bill. Health Manager Sharon Cox told News24 that while the Hate Crimes Bill would not necessarily stop these acts of violence in the short term, it will serve to show political will to bring them to and end.
“The president needs to act. Much work has gone into this bill for so many years. It now requires the president’s signature. This must be a priority now,” Cox said.
OUT LGBT Well-being will be providing financial support to assist Jacobs’ family with expenses for his funeral, which will take place on Saturday.