A 34-year-old Zimbabwean national who has been living in South Africa illegally has been arrested for murder, rape, defeating the ends of justice and robbery in the neighbouring country.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) said the man is linked to the disappearance and killing of seven women between August and October this year.
The bodies were discovered in different locations in the bush in Seshego, Polokwane, Mankweng and Westernburg.
All the deceased have been positively identified by their next of kin. The suspect allegedly lured his victims by promising them jobs through social media.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the suspect had earlier been arrested for the alleged possession of a suspected stolen cellphone but further investigations revealed the murders. He said:
We have arrested a 34-year-old suspect whom we believe to be responsible for a series of murders whose victims were all women.
We can confirm that seven bodies have already been recovered from different locations under Seshego, Polokwane and western policing areas.
The suspect is being charged with murder, rape, defeating the ends of justice and robbery.
One of the man’s victims was identified as Sarah Mothiba (42) who was last seen leaving home for work in Polokwane on the 18th of last month.
The suspect reportedly demanded R2 500 ransom from the Mothiba family at Ga-Chuene, promising to release Sarah. Family spokesperson Violet Rakoma-Mothiba says:
We are unable to accept what happened, he tricked us and made us pay ransom money promising to release Sarah.
He stole cash that Sarah had, withdrew her money at the bank and made the family pay ransom money and ended up killing her.
We are hurt, justice must prevail. He must disclose the names of the people he was working with; I don’t believe he was alone in this crime.
I hope the police can also help to make him disclose the names.
The suspect, who is facing multiple charges, is expected to appear before the Seshego Magistrate’s court on Monday.