Infuriated neighbours of the five men arrested at the weekend in Welbadacht, south of Durban, including a 36-year-old suspected sugar cane serial killer, yesterday expressed shock and anger that they had been living with alleged murderers in their community.
They said they wanted the suspects to "rot in jail".
The arrests came after police discovered five decomposed bodies at a sugar cane plantation at Shayamoya township, Umzinto, on the South Coast.
They had been raped and strangled. Three of the victims have since been identified.
The suspects were arrested on Monday while they were asleep in a low-cost housing unit.
Investigators are confident that one of the men, aged 36, is the suspected serial killer.
He allegedly lured the women under the pretext of providing them with employment.
Yesterday, terrified residents said they feared that two women missing from the area had had contact with the suspect, whom they described as a "smooth talker".
They believe the two bodies might be those of the women from their community.
The families of the missing women said the key suspect had offered the women jobs at a sugar mill in Eston.
They had accompanied the suspect on separate occasions and have not been seen since.
Lucky Majova, 29, said he wanted to know where his sister Thandazile Bokuda, 22, was.
"My niece came to stay with me in Durban after completing matric in Lusikisiki in Eastern Cape.
"The man told her that he had found her a job and that she must have R2500 to pay rent and food.
"It's been months since Thandazile disappeared. I trusted this man when he told us that my sister has a job. My family had been asking me to get Thandazile's work contact number but this man told me that we can only reach her through e-mail or fax since she got a job in Austria with his sister," he said.
"We did not suspect him because he was a smooth talker," he said.