Police make another breakthrough in rape and robbery cases as third suspect is arrested
POLOKWANE – The Police in Limpopo have made another breakthrough in arresting the third suspect in connection with nine rape cases that were committed in the Sekhukhune District between 2017 and 2018.
The 31-year-old suspect was tracked down and arrested in Ga-Sekororo village outside Tzaneen on Tuesday 03 January 2023, by the members of Burgesfort Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offenses (FCS) Unit after working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the suspect is positively linked to the cases and joined his two accomplices who have been kept behind bars.
By the time the suspects, A taxi driver and two friends were arrested in October 2018, 10 women aged between 19 and 32 were reportedly raped and robbed of their valuables, in which the modus operandi was similar. The suspects’ reign of terror is believed to have started in July 2017 and ended with their arrest in October 2018. The third suspect was later released due to lack of evidence until he was recently linked through forensic evidence.
The number of cases had been reported in Mecklenburg, Driekop, Burgersfort and Apel.
In all these cases, the victims reported that they were targeted while left alone in the taxi and along the way, one of the suspects would use pepper spray while the driver drove to the nearby bushes. The 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 21:45 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.
During the arrest, some of the robbed items were found in possession of one of the suspects.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe congratulated the FCS Unit for working tirelessly to put back the suspect behind bars where he belonged alongside his accomplices. The General further said police will continue to work hard to ensure that Gender based violence related cases are prioritised
The 31-year-old suspect will appear in the Mecklenburg Magistrate’s Court on 11 January 2023 for formal bail application while his two accomplices will return to Court on 22 February in a bid to apply for bail. The three suspects are facing several cases of rape, robbery and possession of suspected stolen properties.
Source: South African Police Service