Self-confessed serial killer and rapist Jimmy Maketta stood on a hill on Fridays, from where he could see in the distance Philippi farm workers leaving their jobs to start their weekend drinking, the Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
Captain Jonathon Morris, the detective who finally arrested Maketta, 46, told the court: "The accused says most of his rape victims were drunk when he attacked them at night, and they did not even know they had been raped."
Maketta pleaded guilty before Judge Abie Motala and two assessors to 47 charges - 19 of rape, 16 of murder, six housebreakings, three assaults, one kidnapping, one theft and one attempted murder.
His capture, after police first arrested the wrong person, brought to an end Maketta's reign of terror among workers in the Philippi farming community on the Cape Flats between April and December 2005.
Maketta is to be sentenced at noon on Thursday.
Members of the Philippi farming community packed into the court room, where prosecutor Susan Galloway handed up a batch of documents, comprising letters that Maketta had written - one to his wife Janetta and two to Morris in which he gives details of the rapes and slayings.
Morris told the court he took over the investigation in December 2005, after the initial probe had resulted in the arrest of the wrong person.
He said he had to question all the witnesses a second time, and re-visit the various crime scenes.
At one of the crime scenes he had found a cellphone still switched on, that Maketta had left behind.
Morris said there were eight calls to the same number, and when he dialled the number it turned out to be Maketta's son in Grabouw.
Morris said he went to Grabouw, where the son gave him Maketta's address in Mitchells Plain.
Maketta no longer lived there, but Morris tracked him down to a house in Constantia, where Maketta was doing a paint job. He arrested Maketta, who then took him to the Steurhof railway station, where Maketta lived in the bush.
Morris said he confiscated Maketta's clothing and food found in the bush, and Morris then took him to his office in Bellville South for questioning.
Morris said Maketta was hesitant during the questioning, and denied everything - until Morris confronted him with the cellphone Morris had found, and letters that Maketta had written, which Morris had in his possession.
Only then did Maketta admit the murders and rapes, and even informed Morris about murders that Morris at that stage did not know about.
Morris told the court he locked Maketta in a cell and the next day took him for his first court appearance.
Maketta was linked to the murders and rapes by DNA tests, cellphone data, trips that Maketta had made with the police to point out murder scenes, where bodies were found, and hand writing samples.
On two occasions, Maketta had even telephoned police radio control to inform the police where bodies could be found.
Morris said Maketta had also written to the Son and the Voice newspapers, to say he was responsible for murders.
"He also wrote to me, to thank me for the way I had treated him. In this letter he says no matter what happens to him, he always wants to stay in touch with me.
"He says he's given his heart to Jesus, and has turned a new leaf." - Sapa