Police cautious on declaring Umzumbe murders as work of serial killer
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Durban - The DA in KwaZulu-Natal wants the rapes and murders of several women in the Umzumbe area to be investigated as the work of a serial killer, and while police have said they are looking at this possibility, they are not yet ready to make a declaration on a serial murderer.
The party's councillor in the Ugu North area, Leonard Ngcobo, on Monday called on police minister Bheki Cele to "swiftly investigate and arrest a possible serial killer who is killing young women at Nkambeni and Mnafu locations at Mthwalume, Umzumbe".
Ngcobo said he was making the call following the disappearance of Nelisiwe Dube, Nosipho Gumede, Akhona Gumede and Baja Duma, who were "found raped and brutally killed".
"Their bodies were found by the community in the sugarcane field. The DA would like to extend deepest condolences to their families."
Should the murders of the women be the work of a serial killer, it would mark the second time in just over a decades that such a known predator has wandered the south coast area.
In 2010, Thozamile Taki was found guilty at the Durban High Court on 26 charges relating to the murders of 13 women. Ten of the bodies were dumped in the sugar cane fields in Umzinto, while another three were found in tea plantations in Port St. Johns. The location of the body dumps earned Taki the moniker of the sugarcane serial killer.
Ngcobo said since the introduction of a nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, South Africa had seen a dramatic increase in gender-based violence.
"We are calling on Minister Cele to assemble a special team of high-ranking policemen and women to investigate and arrest those who are committing these heinous crimes."
One of the spokespersons for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in KwaZulu-Natal, colonel Thembeka Mbele, told African News Agency (ANA) that it had not been confirmed that the murders were as a result of a serial killer.
"We suspect that, but we can't yet make that conclusion," said Mbele.
"So, for now, we are investigating... separate murders, but we do have the same [investigating officer] on the dockets," she said.
Mbele said three murders, not four, were being investigated.