Two men have been taken in for questioning in connection with a recent spate of murders in Mthwalume, KwaZulu-Natal.
Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed to The Citizen that no arrests have been made, and no one has been charged.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, while announcing the quarterly crime statistics on Friday afternoon, also touched on the matter and said police are confident that they will get “the proper answers” from at least one of the men being questioned.
“We’ll be going there tomorrow to enhance the forces on the ground so that we stop this thing. It’s a thing that should be stopped before more and more of our women are killed. Five is already a big number, we’ll go there to stop any further [murders],” Cele said.
Since December 2019, six bodies were found in varying states of decomposition in cane fields, sparking anxiety among restless community members, and fuelling rumours that a serial killer is behind the murders. All were women between the ages of 16 and 38.
Two of the bodies were found this week at a farm in the remote area. The farm’s owner, Siya Gasa, has since offered a reward of R20,000 for any information on the killings.
Mbhele said updates would be issued as soon as possible, but in the next 48 hours, intense questioning will ensue to determine if the men are connected to the murders.
Police have previously not ruled out the possibility that the murders could have been committed by one person, but said that due to the state of decomposition the bodies have been found in, it has been difficult to establish a victim profile.
A K9 unit and a task team have been appointed to investigate the murders.
Forensic psychologist Gerard Labuschagne told The Citizen that whether it is the work of a serial killer or not shouldn’t matter now, but the important part was that a task team has been established to investigate the matter.
“As long as police are looking at the cases together, it doesn’t matter what they call it.”
He added that there is probably enough evidence to work the case with the angle that it is a serial killer, at least, until more information comes to light.