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A Mpumalanga man believed to be a serial killer and rapist briefly appeared before the Mkhuhlu magistrate's court yesterday.
Lucky Mathebula, 27, whose nickname Mazambane, instilled fear among the Calcutta community, especially women, was not asked to plead on charges of rape and murder.
Mathebula was remanded in custody until next Monday for further police investigations.
He is accused of raping a relative and hacking her to death before hiding her remains inside a wardrobe at Mkhuhlu on December 17 last year.
Mathebula was arrested about two weeks ago at the Machado Plaza along the N4 highway as he was apparently trying to escape to hide in Gauteng.
Mpumalanga police spokesman, Superintendent Abie Khoabane, said though the man was a suspect in a number of other cases of rape and murder, the police still had to positively link him to them.
"In the eyes of the community this man is seen as a serial rapist and killer, but we still have to conduct thorough investigations to confirm this," said Khoabane yesterday.
"We are calling on members of the community with information to come forward and help us build a watertight cases against him," he added.
Members of the community had claimed the man once killed a grandmother in her mealie field.
"We are told he asked the woman what she would do if Mazambane ever appeared in front of her and she said she would use her hand hoe to cut him to pieces," said a villager who was too afraid to be identified.
"He took the hand hoe from the elderly woman and cut her into pieces while those who were with her ran away."
Khoabane confirmed the murder, but said police still had to gather all the information on the case before directly linking Mathebula to it.
Another member of the community, Simaphi Maphosa, said people had even stopped walking at night because they were afraid of Mazambane.
"He had recently threatened to rape and kill more than ten women in Mkhuhlu's RDP section before the end of February," said Maphosa.