We'll catch KZN ‘serial killer’: cops
Share this article:
Durban - A police task team set up to hunt an alleged serial killer operating on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast has identified a possible suspect and is closing on him.
This emerged on Wednesday as police confirmed that the bodies of at least five women were found in the sugar cane fields of oThongathi (Tongaat) over the past three months.
All five women had their hands tied behind their backs, their feet bound and their mouths gagged. Two of the bodies had been burnt.
Police are also investigating the possibility that the women might have been strangled and raped.
Spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge said they were confident of cracking the case.
“Our investigation has narrowed to a particular suspect. We believe that he did not operate alone and he could have been assisted by accomplices or accessories after the fact,” he said. “We are on his trail and should effect an arrest soon.”
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni set up a special team after the body of a Nongoma teacher, Philisiwe Hlatswayo, was found in a cane field not far from the bodies of four other women in the oThongathi area recently.
Like the others, her hands had been tied behind her back and her feet bound. Her T-shirt had been used to strangle her.
Police were alerted by a cane cutter who made the discovery at the Amanzimnyama Park when he saw flames.
Another victim has been identified as Phindile Ndlovu, 44, a Hillcrest domestic worker, whose body was found in a sugar cane field in Wewe, oThongathi.
A third victim was found in a cane field near Emona. She had been raped, strangled and tied up. A tyre had been placed around her waist and set alight.
Mdunge would not reveal where the bodies of the other two women were found, but it is believed they were discovered within 3km of each other.
The bodies were found three months ago, he said.
Mdunge said the women came from oThongathi and might have known their killer.
Police sources told the Daily News this week that the killer lured his victims using Facebook, WhatsApp and Mxit.
“Because of the sensitivity and seriousness of the offence, we do not want to divulge too many details, but it would seem that the victims knew the killer and trusted him in some sense to follow him to where they were killed,” Mdunge said.
He allayed public fears that the recent killings were the work of the accomplices of convicted serial killer Thozamile Taki, whose 13 victims were found in the sugar cane fields of Umzinto in 2007.
“There have been suggestions that it could be the same group of people who operated in Umzinto.
“However, our investigators believe there are no links between the two cases although these victims were also found in sugar cane fields.”
Mdunge said the specialised task team had been working around the clock to catch the alleged oThongathi serial killer.
“We know who he is and we are confident that we will be able to catch him soon,” he said.