Devilsdorp, a new documentary series on Showmax about a series of murders which rocked Krugersdorp in 2016, has captivated South African audiences.
Altogether 11 murders were carried out by members of a cult-like religious group known as Electus Per Deus (Chosen by God) under the leadership of Cecilia Steyn between 2011 and 2016.
The Krugersdorp murders showcased in Devilsdorp are by no means the only horrific crimes South Africans have seen over the past few years.
Here’s a look at five cases that dominated headlines in Gauteng in recent years:
Cop hacked to death by suspected rapist while arresting him
In March last year, a 53-year-old Limpopo police officer, Warrant Officer Thinandavha Stanley Mudau, 53, met a gruesome end when he was hacked to death with a panga by a suspected rapist who he was trying to arrest.
The officer had put the 17-year-old rape victim in his car and was driving her to the nearest police station to take a statement and open a case when the teenager saw the suspect – her uncle – in Sibasa CBD.
The officer parked his car and approached the suspect with the intention to arrest him but was attacked with a panga by the man and died at the scene.
The suspect then turned his attention to his niece, hacking her with the same panga and seriously injuring her.
Couple die in a hail of bullets in front of daughter, 4
In May 2019, a Vosloorus couple had just cast their vote in the presidential elections when gunmen sprayed them with bullets, killing them in front of their 4-year-old daughter.
It is alleged that about 15 to 20 shots were fired and the couple were left lifeless in their car while their baby was found covered in blood in the back seat. Some of the bullets hit her in the leg.
It was said at the time that one of the suspects jumped in front of the couple’s car and it stopped. As it stopped, more suspects emerged from the nearby bushes and fired shots at the vehicle.
The motive behind the attack was unknown and a hit was suspected as nothing was taken from the victims’ vehicle.
Stench leads to discovery of seven decomposed bodies at Vlakfontein house
In 2014, Vusi Ernest Mabaso contacted the Khoza family from Vlakfontein, south of Joburg, on Facebook and told them he was their lost-long relative.
After communicating with him for years, the family invited him to live with them in 2018, welcoming him with open arms.
Three months later, however, an unpleasant smell coming from the yard led to the discovery of the decomposed bodies of the entire family of seven. The women and girl children had been raped as well.
Mabaso and Fifita Khupe, who also lived in the property, were arrested for the multiple rapes and murders. Mabaso died by suicide three months later and charges against Khupe – who was in a relationship with one of the victims – were dropped after the state said there was no evidence linking him to the crimes.
Couple tied up, shot and burnt inside shack together with friend
In July last year, 18-year-old Matshidiso Ndlovu of Soweto went to visit her boyfriend in Lufhereng but never returned home. She, her boyfriend and a friend were tied up inside the boyfriend’s shack, shot and then burnt.
The landlord of the burnt shack said he heard loud knocking outside and when he peeped through the window, saw five men with guns outside Ndlovu’s boyfriend’s room.
He later said when one of the tenants went outside to find out what was happening, the five men told him to go back inside as they did not come for him.
After a while, five gunshots were heard. The men started to leave the yard then returned to burn the shack.
All three victims were burnt beyond recognition.
Limpopo dad kills four kids after accusing wife of cheating, infecting him with HIV
In February last year, Senyatse Lucas Phasha of Limpopo went on a Facebook rant, accusing his wife of being a cheat, infecting him with HIV and making him raise a child she knew was not his. He then said he was going to kill the children.
Part of the post read: “I am very angry at her, her friends and her lovers. She will never see us again and must die of Aids. My wife really hurt me.”
On the day of the murders, he stopped a minibus that was transporting the children Katlego, 9, Joyce, 7, Tshepo, 5, and Adel, 3 from school in Selatole village, and because the minibus driver knew Phasha was their father, he let them go with him.
Later that day, the bodies of Katlego, Joyce and Tshepo were found dead with stab wounds in bush about 5km from their home.
Adel’s body was found with open wounds at the foot of a mountain just 3km from the scene. She had been blundgeoned with a huge stone.
At the time of the murders, Phasa was out on parole. Years ago he had been chasing his girlfriend with a gun, accusing her of cheating on him, when he started shooting at her. The bullet, however, missed his girlfriend and struck a neighbour's child, who later died.
Phasha was slapped with four life sentences in June for the murders of his children.