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Johannesburg - Serial killers and rapists in South Africa often act close to home simply because they don’t have transport.
This is according to a top investigative psychologist regarding the possibility that the recent Diepsloot murders of two toddlers may have been committed by a serial killer.
Last Tuesday, the area’s cluster commander, Major-General Oswald Reddy, said police were looking at the possibility that the man accused of killing the Mali cousins - two-year-old Yonelisa and three-year-old Zandile - in Diepsloot Extension 1 could be linked to last month’s killing of five-year-old Anelise Mkhondo.
However, this has yet to be confirmed or admitted in court.
“I’m not saying this Diepsloot thing is a serial crime,” said Brigadier Gérard Labuschagne, the head of the SAPS Investigative Psychology Unit).
The unit was brought in to probe the kidnapping, rape and murder of the Mali cousins, whose bodies were found in a communal toilet in the early hours of last Tuesday.
Labuschagne could not speak specifically on the investigation, but, speaking broadly about serial offenders in South Africa, he said they were normally restricted to committing crimes in areas they lived in.
“It’s an area they feel safe in and comfortable to operate in,” he said, adding that logistical constraints also played an important role.
“In South Africa, offenders are probably more limited by lack of transport.”
The man accused of killing the Mali cousins lived just metres from where their bodies were found and about 100m from where Anelise’s body was found.
While it was uncommon for serial criminals to remain in the area while police investigated a crime, it had happened in the past.
“Sometimes it can be a sense of excitement to be present while these things are happening, or just curiosity,” Labuschagne said.
The accused murderer’s shack was raided by some residents on the day the gruesome discovery of the toddlers’ bodies was made.
By then he was already on the run. He was arrested three days later in Alexandra.
When serial criminals had easy access to transport, the area in which they operated increased vastly, Labuschagne said.