Mthwalume murders

KZN police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula says that police are still investigating the possibility of a serial killer in the area. Photo: Screenshot

Mthwalume murders: Police not ruling out possible serial killer

The Mthwalume community have reportedly told SAPS that there may be more bodies yet to be found as police continue their investigation.

Mthwalume murders

KZN police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula says that police are still investigating the possibility of a serial killer in the area. Photo: Screenshot

As the body count continues to mount in Mthwalume in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), police are continuing to search for more possible bodies having already found the remains of six women since the start of lockdown. 

Police have not yet cancelled out the notion that there may be a serial killer on the loose, despite having already made two arrests in connection with the killings. One of the suspects was released due to a lack of evidence, while the other is reported to have confessed to the crimes before committing suicide in police custody. 

Mthwalume murders continue to mount  

KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula said that police in the area are continuing to follow up on reports from members of the Mthwalume community suggesting that there may be more grim discoveries awaiting them.

“We are going to continue with ou search because we need to address the fears in the community that there is a serial killer that is hovering around in the area,” he said on Tuesday.  

“We are seeking more information, with other people claiming that there may be more bodies that were not part of the five that we became aware of who could have been killed by the suspect who confessed and is now deceased.”

The latest body of a woman was discovered “burnt beyond recognition” on the side of a road in Mthwalume on Saturday 29 August, and police are continuing there probe to clarify whether she was the victim of the same killers who murdered the other five women. 

DA calls for reform in local SAPS

The Democratic Alliance (DA) have said that the situation in the rural community is “extremely concerning”, and said that they have been informed that 14 women have been reported missing during the lockdown. 

“To date, out of a total of 14 women reported missing, six remain missing, six have sadly been found dead and two managed to escape with their lives,” said the DA’s KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety, Sharon Hoosen 

“That another woman has now been found raises the very serious question of whether the now-deceased suspect and his alleged accomplice were working alone, or whether there is another individual involved who remains at large,” she said. 

She said that in order for women to be better protected in the area, the following changes need to be enforced:

  • Permanently increase the workforce at this SAPS station
  • Align with security companies within the area to provide additional visibility
  • Strengthen the alliance between the community and SAPS
  • Provide resources to help SAPS conduct their duties and;
  • Ensure compulsory training of officers and detectives

Mthwalume community concerned with level of policing  

Hoosen said that efforts to curb gender based violence in the area have been hampered by poor administration at the local South African Police Service (SAPS) station.

“Regrettably, investigations into this matter have already been hampered as a result of poor administration at the Hibberdene SAPS – a fact stated by National Police Minister, Bheki Cele, when he recently visited the community,” she said. 

“Issues include incompetent officers who continue to report for duty without facing disciplinary action and the question that KZN Community Safety MEC, Bheki Ntuli must answer is – why did five women have to die before such serious problems were identified at this SAPS?”

Cele admits SAPS must ‘do more’ to curb GBV 

Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday 30 August that the deaths were being urgently addressed, and said that Jula would be effecting urgent changes in the local SAPS offices, which he agreed are suffering from dire administration procedures. 

He admitted that SAPS “need to do more” to protect women from gender based violence. 

“The Secretariat and the Inspectorate have gone to that police station and the changes will be made very soon by the National Commissioner [Khombinkosi Jula], because we have discovered that there are problems in the administration of the station.”