one kill led to another

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Gardener Richman Makhwenkwe was so desperate to cover his tracks after killing his girlfriend that he murdered everyone who crossed his path.

The Johannesburg high court heard that the 28-year-old gardener first killed his girlfriend for selling his belongings. He then went after the man who bought his belongings and killed him.

Later, he allegedly went after three women who he thought had seen him bury the first two victims. He raped, robbed and killed them on separate occasions.

The charge sheet says that in November 2005, Makhwenkwe returned home to find that his girlfriend, Zoleka Kula, had sold all his belongings. He allegedly raped and killed her before burying her body in a shallow grave in a veld in Moffatpark. He then went to find the man who had bought his belongings, killed him and buried him in the same veld where he buried the girlfriend.

He had spotted three women walking across the park on both occasions that he was burying his victims. He decided to go after the three women and killed them one-by-one on different dates.

Inspector Kobus Coetzee, who was at the time stationed at Booysens police station, told the court that Makhwenkwe of Bassonia in Johannesburg, was his gardener.

"I only found out he could be involved in this case on the day he was arrested. He only worked for me on Fridays and he was never absent from work," he said.

Coetzee was part of the task team investigating the murders.

All five bodies were found in an open veld in Moffatpark, in the south of Johannesburg.

The body of Makhwenkwe's girlfriend was found by Inspector Micheal Grobelaar's sniffer dog in a shallow grave in September 2006. The decomposed bodies of the man and three women were found within a year.

Makhwenkwe faces five counts of murder, four of rape and five of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The trial continues.