Top Durban cops, Sergeants Mndeni Mzila and Vusi Shinga are putting away serial rapists
Durban - HOW DO you spot a serial rapist?
You can’t, because almost all are family men, trusted members of their communities, and are employed. Younger serial rapists may not be married, but they may have girlfriends.
They are normal-looking people with normal lives. Their families would be the first to defend them because of the normal lives they portray at home. Their families do not believe the allegations that they are rapists until they hear the overwhelming evidence in court for themselves.
This is according to sergeants Mndeni Mzila and Vusi Shinga of the Family Violence and Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS), stationed at Ntuzuma police station.
And they would know: together they have solved more than 100 rape cases and have locked away 70 rapists in the province, including more than 10 serial rapists, since 2014.
Last week, their investigations led to serial rapist Mlungisi Mjoli being sentenced to seven life terms for the rape of six women, one of whom was seven months pregnant at the time, in 2014, and an additional 76 years imprisonment.
Mjoli was difficult to track: he moved from place to place - including Pinetown, Inanda and Harding - raping in each district before moving on.
Amos Ngobeni, 30, who lived in Waterloo, had stalked the streets of Inanda, Mount Edgecombe and Verulam, and raped 19 women over several years. He was sentenced to 10 life terms and an additional 235 years in December 2018. The artisan and father of four, who lived with the mother of his children, lured women into believing that he would help them find jobs, and then raped them.
Earlier this month, their investigations led to the conviction and sentencing of serial rapist Moses Mavila, 29, to 32 life terms for rape and an additional 425 years for robbery and assault - probably the highest sentence handed down for rape.
He committed his crimes in Westville, Pinetown, Greenwood Park, Mayville, and other areas.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News yesterday, the sergeants said the sad reality was that it was not easy to see a serial rapist, as they led the most normal lives in front of family, friends and colleagues. Mzila and Shinga started working as a team on sex-related cases in 2014.
Shinga, who has investigated sex offences since he joined the police force in 2008, said since the cases were of old filed dockets, tracing the serial rapists and linking them to other cases was not easy, as some of the victims did not open cases, and some who had opened cases relocated and changed their contact details.
He said often if rapists were not caught the first time around, they did it again.
“In such cases we try other means of proving the cases, including using the modus operandi to prove that it is the work of a serial rapist,” said Shinga.
He and Mzila, both family men, worked irregular hours and travelled a lot.
“It is a tough job and requires passion and determination. We sleep better at night knowing that we are one serial rapist less every time we send them to jail. The happiness of the victims, after each successful conviction, is what motivates us to work tirelessly,” Mzila said.