Pretoria - One of the heroes who ensured the conviction and subsequent seven life terms for Pretoria West serial rapist Takalani Mulaudzi, 30, a week ago, said while he was elated at the outcome, the victory was not his alone.
Sergeant Daniel Moshabela, who had burnt the midnight oil to ensure that the evidence against Malaudzi was watertight, said the victory belonged to the victims and his law enforcement partners.
He not only lent a sympathetic ear to the more than 15 victims, but fought tooth and nail to ensure that the SAPS forensic laboratory had the DNA evidence ready in time for the rapist’s trial.
This was not the first serial rapist Moshabela was instrumental in getting behind bars, but this was the longest sentence meted out to an accused in one of his investigations.
Apart from the seven life terms, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced Mulaudzi, of Tshafhasi in Nzhelele, Limpopo, to a further 173 years in prison for rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and grievous bodily harm.
He was convicted of 15 counts of rape, five counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, tree counts of kidnapping and one count of grievous body harm.
The court heard that Mulaudzi started committing the offences in 2015 in and around Pretoria West when he was 23 years old, subjecting the resident to a reign of terror until 2019 when he was caught.
He targeted women who were walking alone or in pairs in the evenings.
He would threaten them with a knife or another weapon, then drag them to the closest piece of veld, rape them, take their belongings such as cellphones, money and laptops, and leave them.
The serial rapist was referred to as “evil” by some of his traumatised victims, often had conversations with them and asked them personal questions about their lives while raping them repeatedly.
One victim recalled that Mulaudzi told her that he was studying law while he was raping her.
One of his victims was placed in a manhole after she was raped in bushes.
He raped her again and left her there. She eventually escaped through the lid of the manhole.
Mulaudzi was arrested on July 10, 2019, at his workplace in Johannesburg after he was traced through one of the phones he stole.
Moshabela said he had used one of the victims’ blacklisted cellphones and could not give a satisfactory explanation as to why.
“When he was arrested he seemed surprised and denied everything, although he did give his co-operation.”
Moshabela said Mulaudzi was never difficult, but showed no remorse.
“It was only towards the end of the trial that he started to apologise for what he had done.”
Apart from the cellphone records and the DNA evidence, the victims also positively identified him during an ID parade.
Moshabela, who has been in service for 17 years – 16 as a detective – said he loved a challenging case and had no room in his life for criminals, let alone rapists.
“I am God-fearing and I believe in praying,” he said.