14 December 2022
The alleged serial rapist and murderer, Themba Prince Shongwe from eMbalenhle appeared before the Secunda Regional Court on Monday,12 December for his ongoing trial.
Shongwe is facing five (5) charges of the rape of young girls from eMbalenhle Ext 17 and the murder of four (4) of his alleged victims, being Nokulunga Nkutha (13) and Lerato Nkutha (11) who were cousins as well as Cynthia Masilela and Mihle Zingamo (14).
On the said date, the state cross examined Sgt Hezekiel Malapela who is the investigation officer in the case.
Shongwe has been in custody since 2019 after his bail was denied.
Previously, before the case was postponed, Malapela was on stand and testified showing visuals of how the girl’s bodies were disposed of in the same pattern or manner.
Malapela further testified that in his 17 years of experience working for FCS, it is not normal to find that all the victims were found dressed in the clothes they had disappeared in after they had been raped.
He further stated that all victims were washed before being disposed of to the secondary crime scene, meaning that where the girls were discovered is not where they were murdered.
Arial photos of the extension area where showing the different locations where all the girls were found was compiled by Sgt Khumalo.
Malapela testified that during his investigations, he discovered that some of the street lights were not in good working condition which meant that the surrounding area was dark during the evening or at night which gave the alleged murderer enough time to dispose of all the bodies.
He further showed the estimated distance from where all bodies were found which revealed that is not far from where the accused resides making the police believe the murderer was from the same extension
Sgt Malapela will continue to testify in February 2023 when the trial resumes.
One man who alleged to have known Themba for the longest time and used to spend time with the him during these ordeals said he was part of the community members who helped in the searching of the victims.
“Now it makes sense since the accused once mentioned in passing that he was fond of this one young girl and we talked him out of it as we knew she was a minor so that young girl could have became a victim too,” said an acquaintances of the accused .