Lurking within the shadows of society are men and women who prey on unsuspecting victims. Psychopathic killers who live out their dark fantasies of torture and murder. These people murder in service of an abnormal psychological gratification. They do not possess a conscience like the average person on the street, but rather find pleasure in heinous acts.
While movies often depict serial killers as a phenomenon outside South Africa, our country has its fair share of human-like monsters. Vicious predators who hide behind cool and calm demeanours, until provoked.
Who are these monstrous people? We look at some of the most prolific South African serial killers. Beasts who are now spending their days behind bars.
When it comes to South African serial killers, no list is complete without Moses Sithole’s name. Currently incarcerated in Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein, Sithole was charged for 38 murders, 40 rapes and six robberies. Yet the world shivers at the thought of Ted Bundy.
Sithole’s reign of terror took place between July 16, 1994, to November 6, 1995. Known as the ABC Killer because he started his sordid career in Atteridgeville, then moving onto Boksburg and finally ending in the Johannesburg suburb, Cleveland.
During this time, he targeted African women and teenage girls between the ages of 18-45. The majority of his victims were interviewing for positions within the charity organisation he created.
Once they came for the interview, he would take them to remote fields, and proceeded to beat, rape, and murder them.
Generally strangled with their own underwear, after the murder, he would write the word bitch on their bodies, before dumping them.
Although his reign lasted just over a year, he is one of South Africa’s most prolific serial killers.
From 2004 until 2008, David Randitsheni prowled around the town of Modimolle in the Limpopo province searching for innocent victims.
He was convicted in 2009 of 10 counts of murder, 17 counts of rape, 18 counts of kidnapping and one count of indecent assault. Sentenced to 16 life sentences and 220 years in prison, the presiding judge stipulated he would be eligible for parole after serving at least 35 years in prison. At which time he would be 80 years old.
Out of all his victims, only one was an adult and the others all children.
He never completed his sentence, as he was found hanging in his prison cell from an apparent suicide, shortly after starting his sentence.
Dubbed the West-End serial Killer by police, Jack Mogale committed his horrific crimes from 2008 to 2009.
Under the guise of a Zion Christian Church preacher, he would gain his victims’ trust before sexually assaulting and killing them.
During his year-long reign of terror, he would commit the sordid acts near his home in Westonaria and Lenasia south of Johannesburg.
On February 11, 2011, he was convicted on 52 of 61 charges related to 16 murders, 19 counts of rape and nine kidnappings. He is now serving life in prison.
Also known as the Monster of Tholeni, Bulelani Mabhayi killed 10 women and nine children in the Eastern Cape village of Tholeni between May 2007 and August 2012.
He would gain access to women’s homes, where he knew there was no male presence. He would then rape and kill them with either an axe or panga.
His youngest victim was 14 months old, while his oldest victim was 79 years old.
Mabhayi was eventually caught and charged. He was found guilty of 20 counts of murder, six of rape and 10 counts of burglary. He was sentenced on September 3, 2013.
While studies show that serial killers usually target a certain type of target, Stewart Wilken had two targets. That of young boys and prostitutes.
Known as Boetie Boer, Wilken actively targeted his victims in Port Elizabeth from 1990 until he was eventually caught in 1997.
While confessing to killing 10 people, he was convicted of seven counts of murder and two counts of sodomy on February 20, 1998.
Wilken received seven life sentences and was advised by Chris Jansen that he would have received the death penalty had it still been available to him.
He even went as far as to kill his daughter, Wuane, who was born from his first marriage. Wilken claims she was sexually abused by her step-dad and wanted to send her soul to God. He also killed Henry Baker, the son of his second wife. During an interview, he told police he had sex with Henry’s decomposing corpse. He also stated that he ate the nipples of one of his victims
While these men are safely behind bars, how many other monsters till lurk undetected in our communities will remain unknown until they are eventually caught?