Serial rapist Sanele Khumalo, 28, was sentenced to a total of 55 years imprisonment for raping three women between 2011 and 2012. PHOTO: SA Police Service

Cape Town - A serial rapist was sentenced to 55 years imprisonment by a KwaZulu-Natal court after his DNA linked him to three rapes committed between 2011 and 2012, the province's police said on Wednesday.

Sanele Khumalo, 28, was sentenced in the Nquthu Regional Court.

Police said the rapist was first arrested on August 11, 2012, just hours after he had approached a 22-year-old woman at her home, "overpowered, strangled and assaulted her with a sjambok", before raping her.

Police had obtained a DNA sample but had to release him after provisionally withdrawing charges against him while the court awaited the pending DNA results.

Khumalo then fled to Gauteng.

"The DNA results returned and linked the accused to two more rape cases in the Nquthu area. A manhunt was conducted looking for the accused in order to serve him with a summons to appear in court," a police statement said.

"In 2016, the accused was traced and arrested at his home while attending a traditional ceremony."

African News Agency (ANA)