Limpopo police nab third suspect linked to 9 rape cases

January 6, 2023 0 By Cypher9ja

Police in Limpopo have made another breakthrough in arresting a third suspect in connection with nine rape cases that were committed in the Sekhukhune District between 2017 and 2018.

SA’s gender-based violence crisis

The 31-year-old man was tracked down and arrested in Ga-Sekororo village, outside Tzaneen, on Tuesday. He is expected to join his two alleged accomplices who have been behind bars for almost five years now.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the suspect was recently linked to the rape cases through forensic evidence.

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The man was initially arrested along with his two alleged accomplices in October 2018, but was later released due to a lack of evidence.

It is alleged the three suspects – a taxi driver and two friends – were involved in the rapes and robbery of 10 women, aged between 19 and 32, in which the modus operandi was similar.

Suspects’ reign of terror

The suspects’ reign of terror is believed to have started in July 2017, after a number of cases were reported in Mecklenburg, Driekop, Burgersfort and Apel.

In all these cases, the victims reported that they were targeted when they were alone in a taxi after other passengers had disembarked.

One of the suspects would allegedly use pepper spray while the driver drove to the nearby bushes. The alleged three perpetrators would then take turns in raping the victims and thereafter rob them of their valuables such as cellphones and handbags.

“In the first incident that occurred on 29 July 2017, at about 9.45pm, in the bushes near Ga-Selala village under Mecklenburg policing area, the driver and his friend allegedly raped a 32-year-old woman and robbed her of valuables.

“In another incident that occurred on 16 September 2018, also in the Mecklenburg policing area, two women were allegedly gang raped by the three suspects and robbed of their valuables,” said Mojapelo.

During the suspects’ arrest in 2018, some of the victims’ robbed items were found in the possession of one of the suspects, Mojapelo added.

Court appearance

The 31-year-old suspect was expected to appear in the Mecklenburg Magistrate’s Court on 11 January 2023, for a formal bail application.

His two alleged accomplices will return to court on 22 February, in a bid to apply for bail.

All three suspects are facing several cases of rape, robbery and possession of suspected stolen properties.

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