190514. Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court outside Thokoza in Ekurhuleni. The Thembisa Serial Rapist appeared briefly at Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court outside Thokoza in Ekurhuleni. He has not yet pleaded and the case has been postponed to July. 431 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko UPDATED CAPTION, NAMING ACCUSED AFTER PLEADING: 24 JULY 2014 Justice Albert Morake faces charges including kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape to name a few in the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. He pleaded not guilty to 175 charges he is facing

Johannesburg - Gauteng detectives are investigating a third Tembisa man they suspect of being a serial rapist.

A reliable source indicated to The Star that the police were investigating 22 cases, including 16 rapes, 18 kidnappings, two attempted rapes, and 18 counts of house robbery.

The Star reported on two other alleged serial rapists in Tembisa in the past five months.

The trial of Justice Albert Morake is underway at the South Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge, where he pleaded not guilty to the 175 charges he is facing. He was arrested in 2012.

The State has indicated it was ready to prosecute a Tembisa man, aged 40, accused of raping about 50 schoolgirls aged 6 to 12. That trial is expected to begin in January.

Police said on Tuesday the third alleged suspect had escaped from custody while on trial in Limpopo in June.

The 28-year-old, whose name is known to The Star, was arrested on Friday by Gauteng police in Ebony Park, Tembisa, for other crimes committed in the past 13 months.

Spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Tuesday that the suspect was the province’s most wanted. The man cannot be named until he pleads.

Mulaudzi said there were eight pending cases in Villa Nora, including business robberies, house robberies, attempted robberies, possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, and hijacking.

There were also two charges at Gilead, Limpopo, of rape.

“We are liaising with colleagues from Gauteng with a view to centralising all cases into one docket. We will get advice from the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions). We’re delighted with the arrest and this will bring closure for the victims of this elusive suspect.”

A source close to the police, who cannot be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the accused was in possession of an unlicensed firearm, ammunition and stolen property when arrested.

“Police are investigating more charges,” the source said, adding that the suspect was arrested with two others, believed to be accomplices in some actions.

He said the alleged rapist’s modus operandi was to break into women’s homes between midnight and 3am. Once inside, the suspect – dubbed the “balaclava rapist” – allegedly kidnapped them, took them to a stretch of veld and raped them. Afterwards, he allegedly forced them to wash at a dam in a bid to get rid of forensic evidence.

The suspect appeared at the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The matter was postponed to next week for further investigations and a bail application.

However, The Star understands that the suspect has abandoned his bail application.

Gauteng police spokeswoman Captain Doniah Mothutsane confirmed that the accused was facing 22 charges including house robberies, theft and rape.

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The Star