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Scores of residents in Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom) in Limpopo yesterday converged on the local magistrate's court to get a glimpse of a man they suspect is responsible for the rapes and murders of children in the area.
Matamba Patrick Mulaudzi was in court yesterday facing a single rape charge.
But villagers believe he is responsible for the disappearance of several young girls. A number of other girls have been found raped and murdered in the area in the past few years.
Mulaudzi, 33, was arrested on January 29 after being identified by a Modimolle woman whom he had allegedly raped.
He was arrested at his home in Vuwani, near Thohoyandou.
Yesterday, he appeared before magistrate KA Mahumani, who postponed the case to March 19 and remanded him in custody.
He is facing a charge of rape following the alleged rape of a 41-year-old woman who had assisted police in identifying him.
Police spokesman Superintendent Malesela Ledwaba said they hoped further charges would be brought against Mulaudzi during his next court appearance.
Ledwaba refused to disclose reasons for the delay in charging Mulaudzi with other rapes and murders, but the police are apparently still awaiting DNA test results .
Mulaudzi, who appeared unperturbed, stood motionless in the dock when Mahumani told him to engage a lawyer to help him apply for bail.
Even threats by the angry villagers who could be heard screaming that they would tear him apart did not seem to shake him.
The heavily-bearded Mulaudzi was wearing a pair of white shoes, black trousers, a yellow T-shirt and a grey jacket.
He was whisked away in a police BMW soon after his case was postponed.
This did not go down well with the residents of the small town, who felt police had done them an injustice by not allowing them to see the man they claim has caused them sleepless nights.
Three children from the area are still missing and police are investigating possible links to the murder suspect.
The victims' ages range between four and 13 years.
Mulaudzi was employed as a builder in the area.