Pietermaritzburg - A 39-year-old man has appeared in court on multiple counts of rape after he allegedly lured his victims with promises of work.
The man, who cannot be named until he has pleaded to the charges in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, was remanded.
Mountain Rise police arrested the man on Tuesday in connection with the alleged rape of three women, aged between 19 and 23.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said the incidents alledgedly took place between March and this month.
“It is alleged that during this period the suspect lured women walking along Willowton Road by promising them jobs,” Naicker said.
The accused would allegedly set up an appointment to meet his victims in town and, while walking with them along the railway line from the CBD towards Willowton, would threaten them with a knife.
“He would then allegedly rape them before robbing them of their belongings and fleeing,” said Naicker.
The case bears striking similarities to that of two previous cases in Pietermaritzburg.
In 2012, Sithembiso Eric Hlope, 31, dubbed the “railway rapist”, pleaded guilty to raping six women, three of them twice.
He was sentenced to nine life terms plus a further 33 years for other offences related to the rapes.
Hlope lured women with the promise of employment to bushes close to the railway line.
In 2010, serial rapist Faizel Sayed was sentenced to 12 life terms for the rapes of eight young women, plus 73 years for multiple charges of kidnapping, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The attacks took place between April 26 and June 21, 2009. All the young women, who were between 15 and 21, identified Sayed as their attacker. They said he had approached them in the street and offered them a job.
The victims testified that he had led them into a forested area near the railway line overlooking the Liberty Midlands Mall, where he had held them at knifepoint, sexually assault-ed and raped them.
KZN MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi has welcomed the latest arrest.
The MEC said she hoped the work of the police and the courts would send a stern warning that rape or any kind of violence directed at women and children would not be tolerated.