Task team looking into spate of gay murders makes arrest

Published Mar 12, 2012



Just days after the formation of a task team to investigate the murders of eight gay men across Gauteng, a man has been arrested over one of the killings.

The 29-year-old was arrested on Friday morning in Orlando for the murder of Siphiwe Nhlapo, who was found bound and strangled in his Kliptown apartment in September last year. Nhlapo was one of eight men killed in Gauteng in similar circumstances over the past two years.

According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, another man suspected of killing Nhlapo is yet to be arrested.

The 29-year-old was due to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court today in connection with the murder.

According to a source close to the investigation, the man is said to have confessed to Nhlapo’s killing, as well as other crimes. But it is unclear if the man is in any way related to the other seven deaths over the past two years.

When The Star originally reported on the first four deaths in October last year, the police said there was no reason to believe there were links between the crimes.

However, four further deaths were uncovered in the intervening months. They each involved gay men murdered in similar ways – all were found bound and murdered in their homes.

The latest victim, theatre manager Rulov Senekal, was found bound and suffocated in his home on February 26 after a meeting with two men in his apartment the night before.

Police have CCTV footage of the two men leaving the building. They appear to have taken with them a laptop and a plastic bag with some other goods.

Manolis Veloudos was the first to be killed, in April 2010. His death was followed in 2011 by the deaths of Jim Cathels, Oscar O’Hara, 33, an unnamed landlord and, in September, Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo, 36, and Barney van Heerden, 39, were found dead.

HIV activist Jason Wassenaar was murdered in his home in December and Senekal was found dead last month.

Another gay man has also gone missing. Thebe Mogamisi had met a potential love interest online late last year, and travelled from Bloemfontein to Joburg to meet a man known only as Sipho on New Year’s Eve.

Mogamisi’s family last heard from him on December 31, when he said he would finally be meeting his new friend in person. That was the last his family and friends heard from him.

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