DISTRAUGHT: Nikiwe Tswagae, centre, widow of Nicolas Tswagae, is supported by family at his memorial service in Kagiso, west of Joburg. Tswagae was believed to be the third victim of the so-called Kagiso serial killer.
Kagiso - The man that the police had pinned their hopes on for information about the spate of killings on the West Rand has died, bringing the death toll to four.

The police suspect that the attacks are linked to a serial killer. The man is the fourth victim believed to have died at the hands of the attacker in Kagiso, near Krugersdorp, in about six weeks. He had spent a month in hospital, and had been unable to move or talk.

The man had been found badly injured and dumped in the veld in the township. Just a few metres from him, another man who had sustained similar injuries, had succumbed to his wounds.

As the death toll continues to rise, the police are scrambling for information that could lead to the arrest of the suspected serial killer, who they believed was on the prowl.

Police spokesperson Captain Solomon Sibiya said they “strongly believed” there was a serial killer in the area.

“The man was found on May 18, not far from where the body of the third victim was found.

“He was still alive and was taken to hospital. We were hoping that he would reveal information about the attack but he was unable to talk or even write when given a pen and paper,” said Sibiya.

He said police information regarding the hospitalised victim had been kept under wraps because they feared that his attacker would find him and finish him off.

“Unfortunately, he died in hospital last week,” said Sibiya.

The first body, of a man in his 30s, was found between Azaadville and Azaadville Gardens on May 15. The next day, police found the body of another man, Nicholas Tswagae, 53, in open veld, near the local recycling centre.

Days later, on May 18, the body of another man with a nosebleed was found by a herdsman in the bushes in Chief Mogale. The man was aged between 24 and 30.

Sibiya said all the victims were hit with a heavy object at the back of their heads.

They were found lying face down with their hands tied to their backs with a brown belt.

Following the death of the fourth victim, police were now back to zero with Sibiya raising concerns about the lack of information from the community.

“We have not had any lead. We went on a drive, speaking to the community about this but no one has come forward with any information. We now believe that the killer may be from the area,” Sibiya added.

The news about the killer still being on the loose has made Tswagae’s daughter Lerato Langa, 28, more anxious.

“I don’t feel safe at all. Nothing is forthcoming regarding the investigations and it is becoming even more frustrating for us as a family,” Langa said.

Tswagae, a pharmacist, was last seen on May 14 when he left for work. He was to celebrate his birthday the next day. His body was found two days later.

He had been married to Nikiwe, 45, for 26 years and had two children, Langa and Katlego, 20.

“What happened is hurtful. I want his killers to be found.

“I want to meet them so that they can answer all the questions we have. Why did they kill him so brutally?

“His left ear is missing and he had gaping holes on his lower jaw and upper face. I will never forget what I saw,” Langa said.

As Tswagae’s family were trying to come to terms with what happened, another family told of their frustration after one of their own was accused of being behind the killings - despite the fact that he was in hospital when the men were killed.

Samson Modibedi, 52, disappeared on April 22 after he left home to go and buy meat for his family. He was found with several stab wounds the next day.

While he was in hospital, the bodies of three men were found as panic rose in the area. His picture was circulated on social media where he was labelled the “Kagiso serial killer”.

“He was in ICU for three weeks after the attack. I was shocked when I saw his picture on social media with people saying he was the killer. How could he have killed them when he too was fighting for his life after being stabbed several times?”

Modibedi died on May 17.


The Star