Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moses Sithole: South African Serial Killer (part 2)

Phone Calls

Moses Sithole
Moses Sithole
A handbag was recovered from the Boksburg scene and inside it police found an identity document. This enabled them to identify one of the victims, Amelia Rapodile, quite rapidly. Tracing her last known movements, they learned from her coworkers that she had had an appointment with a man named Moses Sithole (Sit-TALL-lee) on Sept. 7. This was the day on which she had disappeared. Detectives also obtained an application form for Sithole’s Youth Against Human Abuse organization, in which he had offered Amelia a position. When they tracked down the phone number on the application form, they met a woman named Kwazi Sithole in Wattville, an area southeast of Boksburg. She was Moses’ sister, but he did not live there and she did not know where he was.
When Tryphina Mogotsi was identified not long after, detectives were quite certain that they had the right suspect. Tryphina had been a laundry worker at Kids Haven, an organization helping street children in Benoni, which is a town just east of Boksburg. Siphiwe Ngwenya told them that a man had visited Kids Haven and told them about possible jobs at his organisation called Youth Against Human Abuse. He had spoken to Tryphina as well, who was very excited when she told Siphiwe of an appointment they had made to further discuss the offer. Moira Simpson, a social worker, confirmed that Moses Sithole had visited Kids Haven twice. The first time he was accompanied by a photographer from The Star and two destitute teenage girls, to be taken into the home. On the second occasion he came alone, producing the newspaper article written about his Youth Against Human Abuse organization, and told her that he wanted to organise a fund raiser for street children. A few days later, Tryphina went missing.
Despite the tremendous press coverage of the bodies found near Boksburg, substantial rewards being offered for information and even a plea from President Mandela that communities aid the police in their investigation, the killer was unfazed. After all, he was probably feeling pretty omnipotent by now. A mere week after the discovery of the ten bodies at the Van Dyk Mine became widely known, 20-year-old Agnes Sibongile Mbuli disappeared on her way to meet a friend. Her body was found on Oct. 3 at Kleinfontein train station near Benoni.
On the same day, a man called the office of The Star and spoke with a reporter there. Tamsen de Beer answered the phone. The man said that his name was Joseph Magwena, and he was the Gauteng serial killer (Gauteng is the name of the province in which Johannesburg and Pretoria are located). In I Have Lived in the Monster, Robert Ressler notes the caller’s specific words: ‘I am the man that is so highly wanted.’ He told her that he wanted to surrender. The reporter typed out the conversation and contacted the police. The man phoned another three times during Oct., and these calls were recorded by the police. In these four conversations, “Joseph” provided some detailed information about the murders. He said that he began killing after a woman had falsely accused him of rape, for which he was convicted and imprisoned. While in jail, he suffered abuse at the hands of fellow prisoners. “I force a woman to go where I want and when I go there I tell them: “Do you know what? I was hurt, so I’m doing it now. Then I kill them.” He stated that he used the victims’ clothing to strangle them, and preferred underwear because it left no fingerprints. He had used an area near Boksburg for an extended period, but of course anyone reading the newspapers knew this by now. Continuing, however, he said that these women saw the other victims before they died. Although he accepted responsibility for the murders in Pretoria, Atteridgeville and Boksburg, he denied any involvement in the Cleveland killings. He also vehemently denied killing Letta Ndlangamandla, and in particular her 2-year-old son, stating that he loved children. He provided other specifics as well, including the location of a body the police had not yet found, and the detectives believed that the caller was indeed the killer.
Meanwhile, along with the body of an unidentified woman found near Jupiter train station, as per the directions provided by “Joseph,” on Oct. 9, Beauty Ntombi Ndabeni’s body was discovered in Germiston on Oct. 11, the day after she went missing. A comb had been used to tighten her pantyhose around her neck.
Ultimately, Tamsen de Beer (working with the investigating team) organized a meeting with “Joseph” at a train station, but it did not work out the way the detectives had hoped. They decided that it was time for more aggressive tactics, and a picture of their prime suspect, Moses Sithole, was published in newspapers on Oct. 13. They appealed to the public to come forth with any information they might have on this man.
The next day, a body was found at the Village Main Reef Mine near Johannesburg. Shoelaces had been used to bind her neck to a tree. This woman has never been identified.


A few days after Sithole’s picture appeared in the papers, he contacted his sister’s husband, Maxwell. He said that he needed a gun to protect himself and he arranged with Maxwell to meet him at the Mintex factory in Benoni with a firearm. Sithole’s sister, Kwazi, had already been in contact with the police since they tracked down the phone number on the Youth Against Human Abuse forms, and Maxwell informed the detectives about Sithole’s request.
Captains Vinol Viljoen and Frans van Niekerk seized the opportunity. They met with the factory’s management and organised to have Insp. Francis Mulovhedzi pose as a security guard—unbeknownst to the other guards. At 9 p.m. on Oct. 18, 1995, Sithole arrived at the factory and asked for Maxwell. The other guards told Insp. Mulovhedzi to go and fetch Maxwell, as he was the “new guy” but he argued since he didn’t want to leave Sithole. This made the latter suspicious and he fled. Insp. Mulovhedzi followed him into a dark alley. He identified himself as a police officer, yelling at Sithole to stop, and finally fired two warning shots. But Sithole, despite his claims to the reporter, would not surrender so easily. He came at the policeman with an axe. This is how Insp. Mulovhedzi later described the events in court, as reported in The Star: “He turned back and had an object in his hand and came towards me. My life was in danger and I fired a shot at his legs ... He kept on fighting. He hit me on my right hand and I fired some more shots. He fell to the ground.”
Sithole was shot in the stomach and the leg. He was taken to the Glynwood Hospital in Benoni, where he was operated on the next day.
When Brigadier Suiker Britz, National Commander of the Murder and Robbery Units, heard that Sithole had been shot, his ”heart stopped for a couple of seconds,” he later told Beeld in a Nov. 27, 1998, article. It was like some more déjà vu from the David Selepe case, an incident the press had never really let go. “I prayed the whole time that Sithole wouldn’t die and I called the hospital every hour.”
Sithole survived. Two days later he was transferred to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria, where security could be kept much tighter. The strict security was probably more to protect Sithole from the community than vice versa, since he wasn’t in much of a condition to escape.
Naturally, news of the arrest of the “Gauteng serial killer” spread like wild fire. Still, it did not bring the relief one would expect. In Wattville, residents were furious that Kwazi Sithole, an inhabitant of Wattville herself, had not come forward with information about her brother sooner. Overall, however, the underlying emotion seemed rather to be related to fear: “We are still afraid. The murders didn’t stop after Selepe’s death, why should they stop now?” someone was quoted in the Beeld. Many seemed convinced that there was another accomplice.
Moses Sithole, police ID
Moses Sithole, police ID
On Oct. 23, Moses Sithole was charged with 29 murders in the magistrates’ court in Brakpan. He was unable to attend due to his injuries.
On Oct. 28, newspapers revealed that Sithole was in all probability HIV-positive. Police refrained from comment. It is uncertain how he contracted the virus, although one of his victims may have been the source.
Of course, unfortunately, Sithole’s HIV status also affected others. During 1993, while Sithole was in jail for a previous conviction, he met a woman visiting one of her relatives. Her name was Martha, and they began writing to each other. When he was released later that same year, he moved in with her in Soshanguve, which is some distance north of Pretoria. Later, when Martha got pregnant, she moved in with her parents in Atteridgeville, and Sithole followed some months later. On Dec. 5, 1994, Martha had a baby girl, whom they named Bridget. In Feb. 1995, Sithole paid lobola for Martha—a tradition among the indigenous African people to pay a number of cattle, historically, or more often these days, a sum of money, to the bride’s family. Later that year, however, they parted ways, after which Sithole apparently slept at train stations. Still, Martha had visited Sithole three times since his arrest. But after the news broke of his possible HIV infection, she would have nothing more to do with him. Both Martha and Bridget were tested; the results are unknown. Martha’s sister was upset with the police for not informing them of Sithole’s infection. She had the following to say in an article in the Beeld: “We were good enough to help the police when they were looking for Moses. The police should have told us, because there are many people living here.”

Conversations Around a Hospital Bed

Meanwhile, the detectives had been questioning Sithole in his hospital bed. Both captains Vinol Viljoen and Frans van Niekerk visited Sithole in 1 Military Hospital, but he was reluctant to answer their questions. Until a female detective entered the room. Then he began describing some of his crimes and masturbated while he did so.
Some of these conversations were recorded. At one point, according to The Star, Sithole said: “I can point out the place in Atteridgeville, as well as in Hercules. That’s where I started. Nearer to Johannesburg I did not kill people, because that’s where I stayed. I did not even count.” The locations were chosen before the victims. He killed only during daytime, and supposedly raped only the “pretty ones.”
He also said, according to the same article in The Star, that in “Atteridgeville I killed many—about 10. I caught them with my hands around the neck and strangled them. I thought of something to tie them up ... I used stockings. I placed it around their necks.” He did not like blood, however. “I heard f--k-all if they spoke to me and thought about other things,” he was quoted as saying in the Beeld. He forced the women to look down while he raped and killed them. While he watched them die, he would masturbate.
Sithole denied working with an accomplice and claimed that there had also been copycats.
During the trial, these confessions came under dispute. Sithole, through his lawyer, accused the police of forcing him to admit his ”guilt.” He claimed that detectives had provided him with the information and a list of victims’ names, and then told him to give these details back on the recording.
Of course, persons accused of crimes frequently claim that the police had somehow forced their confessions. However, the case for the detectives’ integrity was not helped by some other events during the days following Sithole’s arrest. According to the detectives, he did not want legal representation present during the questioning. When Tony Richard, a legal aid attorney, arrived at the hospital, he was informed of this, but he did not believe the police and spoke to Sithole himself. Sithole said that his wife was organising a lawyer. Apparently the detectives continued to speak with Sithole alone. After he admitted to the murders, a magistrate was brought in to take down Sithole’s confession. However, the interpreter told Sithole that he really should have some representation. Magistrate Greyvenstein observed that Sithole appeared to be in pain and when she asked him about a lawyer, he said that he had been unable to attain one and blamed the police for not allowing him to see anyone. She consequently refused to take his confession. Another magistrate was brought to the hospital later, at which time Sithole did confess. At the trial he claimed that the detectives were furious after Magistrate Greyvenstein had left, according to the Beeld, saying that he was making fools of them and he would “see shit” if he didn’t confess to the second magistrate.
On Nov. 3, Sithole was released from 1 Military Hospital and transported to Boksburg Prison, where he had served his earlier sentence for rape, and also near one of his mass graves. He was kept in a solitary cell (where he would reside until his trial finally began just shy of a year later).
In the next couple of days, Sithole was taken to point out the scenes where he had left the bodies. On one morning he complained of pain due to his injuries. Capt. Viljoen went to a café and bought a packet of Smarties (chocolate coated in candy, in the form of a pill). He put some of these into Sithole’s mouth and told him to swallow and not chew. The detective wanted Sithole undrugged while he indicated the crime scenes.
Sithole took the detectives to numerous locations where bodies had been found. Capt. Themba Ndlovu accompanied them and translated everything the detectives said into Zulu so that there would be no misunderstandings. On Nov. 6, he took them to the Gosforth Park mine dumps west of Germiston, where they discovered the last victim, yet another woman who would be laid to rest in a nameless pauper’s grave.
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
After these excursions, Sithole was taken to Dr. Lorna Martin, a district surgeon at the time, to determine whether he had been harmed and physically coerced by the police. Since then, Dr. Martin has not only completed her training as a forensic pathologist, but has become the head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the University of Cape Town in 2004. She described Sithole as ”very charming, very well-spoken ... whatever I asked him, he answered. He was pleasant, he was polite ... Scary” (personal communication, July 12, 2004).

Leading Up to the Trial

The trial of Moses Sithole was a long, expensive, but interesting affair. Not only did it necessarily deal with shockingly gruesome details and include exhaustive testimony on DNA, but there were also some intriguing, if not dramatic, twists.
Of course, it took almost a year to get there.
Sithole himself first appeared in court on Nov. 13, 1995, shuffling in on crutches. Many people, including relatives of the victims, attended, and they were not friendly. Foreseeing an emotional crowd, the building housing the Brakpan Magistrates’ Court was sealed off with razor wire and guarded by heavily armed police officers. Some people were very disappointed when they arrived too late to see the suspect, since his case had already been heard at 7:30 a.m. and was merely postponed for further investigation. They vowed to camp out at the building on the following occasion.
On Dec. 5, Sithole reappeared in the magistrates’ court. His attorney, Tony Richard, presented a letter from psychiatrist Dr. Leon Fine to the judge, proposing that Sithole be sent for clinical observation. Apparently, Sithole had suffered some head injuries during previous assaults and boxing matches, and these may have prevented him from realising the wrongfulness of his actions. It is interesting, however, that, despite not realizing that killing these women was wrong, he nevertheless went to tremendous lengths to cunningly mislead them, to lure them far away from other people, to leave almost no evidence behind, and to remove the victims’ belongings so as to prolong their identification. The judge ordered that Sithole be transferred to the Krugersdorp Prison, where he could be observed at nearby Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital.
On Jan. 5, 1996, the process repeated itself, bar the letter and bar the presence of Sithole. On Feb. 6, Sithole did attend, and a third period of 30 days was added. On March 6, the psychiatric reports were finally complete, and the court was informed that Sithole did not exhibit any evidence of injury or disorder which would preclude his comprehension of right and wrong. Hence, he was deemed fit to stand trial. Sithole listened with what would become his characteristic grin. A large contingent of women had gathered outside the building and demanded that Sithole be delivered to them. Their request was denied and Sithole was instead returned to Boksburg Prison.
South African High Court, Pretoria
South African High Court, Pretoria
On May 20, Sithole appeared in the Pretoria Supreme Court, where a date was set for the trial to begin five months later.
In mid-Sept., Sithole received a new, private attorney, Eben Jordaan, whose fees (although 20 percent below the usual rates) would be carried by the State.
On Sept. 30, the newspapers went wild. They reported that Moses Sithole would be charged with 38 counts of murder, 40 counts of rape and 6 counts of robbery. Four of the murder charges related to women previously attributed by the police to alleged Cleveland serial killer, David Selepe. This revelation did not go down well with reporters who had never really accepted the Selepe incident. The fact that one of these women, Amanda Thethe, had been found at the scene Selepe had been pointing out when he was shot, naturally exacerbated the situation even further.
Questioned on whether any of these four were included in the six victims police claimed were positively linked to Selepe at the turn of 1994, they chose not to comment, “as the Sithole case is considered to be sub judice,” quoted in the Cape Times. The names of the six connected to Selepe has never been made public.
Amanda Kebofile Thethe, age 26, was found on Aug. 6, 1994, near Cleveland. The other three victims were: 18-year-old Maria Monene Monama, found on July 16 in Cleveland; 32-year-old Joyce Thakane Mashabela, found on Aug. 19 in Pretoria West; and 24-year-old Refilwe Amanda Mokale, found on Sept. 7 in Cleveland.
Another body, that of Rose Rebothile Mogotsi, had also been added to the charges. Rose was found on Sept. 18, 1994, in Boksburg. She had disappeared three days earlier, a 22-year-old looking for work.

Early Victims

Sithole’s trial finally began on Oct. 21, 1996. Another eminent trial was already underway. During the apartheid years, the Security Police was used to deal with political threats against the government. Organizations such as the African National Congress (now the ruling party), the Pan Africanist Congress, the South African Communist Party, and the like, were banned and many of their leaders and prominent members, such as Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned or at least very closely watched. The C-10 Counterinsurgence Unit, under Col. Eugene de Kock, was involved in numerous atrocities at Vlakplaas particularly during the 1980s. Much hated by the ANC and their military wing during the Struggle, Umkhonto weSizwe, De Kock was put on trial after the ANC won the first democratic election. As Sithole’s trial became imminent, De Kock was already testifying in his, neither man realising that they would be spending the remainder of their lives in the same prison block.
Outside C-Max prison
Outside C-Max prison
On Oct. 21, Moses Sithole was charged with the rapes of 40 women, the murders of 37 women and one child, as well as six counts of robbery. Grinning, he pleaded not guilty.
Deputy Attorney-General Retha Meintjies prosecuted, while Mr Justice David Curlewis presided. Eben Jordaan continued on Sithole’s behalf.
The first three charges related to rapes occurring during 1987 and 1988. These women testified first. Usually, the names of rape survivors are not mentioned. I include their names because they stood up during the trial to face their monster, exposed themselves for the world to see, and helped to lock him away forever. Their courage and their victory should not be hidden.
Patricia Khumalo, age 29, was looking for work in September 1987. On the 14th, her sister introduced her to a man named Martin, whom they both identified as Moses Sithole at the trial. Martin told Patricia that he had work for her in Cleveland. Happy that she would be able to earn some money, she got on the train with him in Boksburg. They stepped off at Geldenhuis station, and ‘Martin’ said that he knew a short cut through the veld. Here he became different. “He grabbed me by the clothes in front of my chest. I was frightened. He ordered me to lie on the ground and raped me,” she told the court, according to the CapeTimes of Oct. 23, 1996. He raped her more than once. ”I pleaded and cried and asked him not to kill me. He said he wouldn’t, because I have the kind of eyes that makes him feel sorry,” she continued, as reported in Beeld on Oct. 23, 1996. While she struggled on the stand to relate the events through her tears, Sithole smiled in amusement. He had tied her hands with her bra, pulled her dress over her head, and ordered her to wait there. The next day was her daughter’s birthday.
Eben Jordaan, Sithole’s attorney, asked Patricia whether it hadn’t been David Selepe. She said no. She had seen Sithole’ picture in the papers after his arrest and recognised him there. And she recognized him now.
Thembi Ngwenya testified that she had met Sithole in Sept. 1988 at the clothing store where she worked. He offered her a better paying job, but she felt that she should first speak to her employer and give notice. But Thembi remembered a friend, Dorcas Kedibone Khobane, who was unemployed, and introduced them. On Sept. 28, Sithole asked 26-year-old Dorcas to accompany him to Cleveland. Again they stopped at Geldenhuis station, and walked through the veld where he slapped her and produced a knife. “He threatened to kill me with it and to cut me into pieces unless I did as he asked,” she told the court, according to the Saturday Star of Oct. 26, 1996. “He pushed me on the ground and took my panties off. He dropped his pants to his knees and he raped me.” The man wasn’t ready to leave, however, and had a conversation with her. “He told me he had a girlfriend in Vosloorus named Sibongile. He said he wanted me to go look for her at her home because she had stolen some things from him, but did not say what. He then asked if we could sleep again.” Dorcas said no, and he raped her for the second time. Again he didn’t leave, but someone approached and he ran off. Although the man had said his name was ‘Samson’, Dorcas identified Moses Sithole as her rapist.
Sibongile Nkosi was 17 in 1988, and involved with Sithole, although she knew him as Martin. While she was testifying, Sithole for once did not smile, but buried his face in his hands. Sibongile testified that she was afraid of him then and still was now. He had frequently beaten her and had threatened the lives of her family if she were to leave him. She described how he would hit her, and then suddenly become friendly if someone visited. Advocate Jordaan told her that his client would deny that he ever laid a hand on her. Sibongile asked whether she should take off her clothes so that he could see the scars.
Lindiwe Nkosi, Sibongile’s sister, testified that ‘Martin’ had asked her whether she wanted to visit her sister in Soweto. It was during October 1988. They took the train and got off at Geldenhuis station. In the veld ‘Martin’ asked her if she wanted to have sex with him. When she refused, he produced a bottle of petrol. He said that he would kill her and burn her if she did not have sex with him. He then proceeded to beat her, rape her and strangle her until she became unconscious. When she came to, ‘Martin’ said that he would kill her and her niece if she said anything. Then he took her home. Lindiwe was 15 years old at the time.
Buyiswa Doris Swakamisa met ’Lloyd Thomas’ in February 1989. He offered her a job on a computer and she accompanied him to the ‘business.’ While they were walking through the veld near Cleveland, he took out a panga (which is somewhat like a machete, and especially employed in cutting the sugar cane in KwaZulu-Natal) from a newspaper he had rolled up under his arm. He said that he was going to have sex with her. Buyiswa told the court, according to The Star of Oct. 30, 1996, that he ‘threw the panga to one side and said if I did not want to have intercourse with him, I could run away, but had to make sure that he did not catch up with me or he would kill me. I just stood there. He came towards me and slapped me and ordered me to take off my clothes. When I did not he slapped me twice with his open hand.” However, Lloyd was unable to rape her. She had to kiss his neck and stick her fingers into his ears so that he could get an erection. Then he raped her. Afterwards he told her that ”he hated women because he once had a child with a girlfriend in Alexandra and that his girlfriend had poisoned the child.” Then he tied her up, took her money and left. She reported the rape to the police.
Some months later, Buyiswa saw Lloyd outside the place where she had found employment in the meantime. She informed the police and Lloyd was arrested, only he gave his name as Moses Sithole to the officers. In a very unprofessional move, Buyiswa had to ride to the police station in the back of the vehicle along with her rapist. He cursed her and said that he should have killed her.
Sithole was found guilty of rape in 1989 and was sentenced to six years, although he maintained that he had been falsely accused. In 1993, he was released for good behavior, yet another testament to the wisdom of this practice, although in all fairness it would only have delayed the inevitable for a couple of years. The State wanted Buyiswa to testify as to Sithole’s modus operandi and also to explain why there had been no crimes during 1989 to 1993.


The addition of Amanda Thethe’s murder to the charges against Sithole was wrapped in controversy ever since it became known. Not only had David Selepe been pointing out this scene when he was killed, but Amanda’s killer had used her bank card to withdraw money from an automatic teller machine on three occasions in the days after she was killed. He had been photographed by a security camera, and police had stated previously that the man on this photo was David Selepe. Now Sithole was also charged with this act of robbery.
On Nov. 18, Siphiwe Ngwenya, who had worked at Kids Haven with Tryphina Mogotsi, identified the man on the security camera photo as Moses Sithole, the man who had visited Kids Haven and had had an appointment with Tryphina on the day she disappeared. The nail of death, however, was when Sithole’s sister, Kwazi, told the court that the man on the photo was her brother. She also testified that women frequently phoned her home about job offers.
But there were more disturbing facts that would come to light. Sithole had known Amanda Thethe, and had visited her father’s home some months before she disappeared. She introduced him as Selbie, her boyfriend. She was found on Aug. 6, 1994, raped, her panties and pantyhose stuffed into her mouth, her blouse tied around her throat. Amanda’s aunt saw “Selbie” again—at her niece’s funeral. Serial killers like to visit their ‘graveyards’, dump sites or even attend their victims’ funerals. In doing so, they can relive the fantasy, the memory, the power of their domination over another human being.
Wilhelmina Ramphisa met ”David Ngobeni” in March of 1995. He offered her a job and she filled in an application form. She was probably very disappointed and quite angry when he didn’t keep their appointment to meet again. Of course, months later, when she saw David Ngobeni again, this time on the television news, and learned that he was actually Moses Sithole, believed to have killed more than 30 women, she must have gone ice cold, and then cried from happiness that he never showed.
Many witnesses testified. Fathers described the agony of having to identify their battered and broken daughters. Many tears were shed in that courtroom. Sithole, mostly, just sat and smiled.
Dan Mokwena testified that he had been sitting with Elizabeth Mathetsa outside their place of employment early in 1995. A man walked up to them and Elizabeth introduced him to Dan as Sello, her boyfriend. Dan again saw Sello a week before Elizabeth disappeared on May 25, 1995. Dan identified Moses Sithole as the man he knew as “Sello.”
Piet Tsotsetsi, a truck driver, testified that he received numerous calls on the cellular phone in his truck from women about job offers he had supposedly made. He knew nothing about it. During this time, however, Sithole had been employed at the same company to wash the trucks. Elsie Masango’s sister testified that a man calling himself “Piet Tsotsetsi” had offered Elsie a job shortly before she disappeared. Tsotsetsi stated that the phone calls stopped after Sithole’s arrest.
On Nov. 12, the trial had to be suspended when Sithole began to bleed. He had fallen during the weekend and reopened a previous wound to his leg. He was taken to hospital, leaving a trail of blood in his wake.
Mary Mogotlhoa testified that she had had a relationship with Sithole, whom she knew as “Charles,” shortly before his arrest. Although it had lasted only about two weeks, he had given her a watch during this time, which Tryphina Mogotsi’s mother testified looked just like her daughter’s. Mary described how Sithole laid a charge of rape against her at a police station after their relationship ended, and also accused her of stealing $82 from him.
Monica Gabisile’s grandmother testified that a man identifying himself as “Moses Sithole” had phoned her house prior to Monica’s disappearance in September 1995. They had met a month earlier and he phoned to say that he had found work for Monica in Germiston. She left her grandmother’s house the next day and was never seen alive again. Three days later, a man phoned again. Although he said his name was Jabulane, Monica’s grandmother recognized his voice as that of Sithole. He phoned again before Monica’s funeral, this time identifying himself as Mandla. Again she recognized his voice. Sithole was in custody and claimed that he would be found innocent. He also said Monica got what she deserved and that the grandmother could walk over her body.
Although this speaks to Sithole’s pleasure in bestowing pain on others is the fact that on this occasion, he chose the name “Mandla” instead of the usual “Martin” or any of the other aliases. During his interrogation, David Selepe claimed that he had had two accomplices, namely “Tito” and “Mandla.” Sithole used many names, but this is quite a coincidence. Although Selepe’s supposed accomplices had been mentioned in the newspapers, their names had not been made public. Detectives had spoken to a Mandla who had been detained both at the time of questioning and during the Cleveland murders, but perhaps this was not the right Mandla.
Peter Magubane
Peter Magubane
Peter Magubane, a well-known photographer, testified that he had been contacted by someone from The Star about two streetchildren. Outside the building he met Sithole, who identified himself as ‘Patrick’ (his brother’s name), a girl of 11 and a boy of 14. They took the girl to the Johannesburg Child Welfare and convinced the boy to go back to his parents. At a later date, the photographer was again contacted by a woman, and this time met “Patrick” and two girls as Park Station in Johannesburg. Apparently the three of them had been sleeping there on benches. They took the girls to Kids Haven, where Sithole of course met Tryphina Mogotsi.
Dr. Leendert Jansen, a voice identification specialist, testified that the voice on the police recordings of conversations between “Joseph Magwena” and the reporter Tamsen de Beer—to which she had testified earlier—and that on the recordings he had made of Sithole, belonged to the same man. “I have no doubt that the unknown voice is in reality the voice of Moses Sithole,” he said according to the Beeld of Nov. 26, 1996.
When Sithole’s common-law wife, Martha, entered the court, he was very excited about seeing his 1-year-old daughter. She testified with the child sleeping in her arms. After the proceedings he waved, but Martha didn’t want him to see their daughter. This was the only time during the protracted trial that he cried. Some people laughed at him.
After Insp. Mulovhedzi described the events surrounding Sithole’s apprehension, Eben Jordaan painted a different picture during cross-examination. According to Sithole’s version, he merely bumped into the police officer, and when he turned to say he was sorry, the officer drew his gun and fired multiple shots. Moreover, Sithole never had an axe.
On Nov. 30, via the newspapers, the police requested the public’s help in identifying eight of Sithole’s victims.
And then all the drama started.'

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