Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Police have arrested a man they believe is the Modimolle serial rapist and killer.

Several young girls in the area have disappeared while others have been found raped and murdered in the past few years.

The arrest that took place last Thursday follows lengthy police investigations.

The suspect was identified as Matamba Patrick Mulaudzi, and the 33-year-old man was arrested at his home in Vuwani, near Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

Police set up a task team to investigate the murders last year. They are confident that the suspect who has been taken into custody is the wanted man.

Some of the victims' bodies were discovered in mountains in the area.

They were allegedly raped before being strangled to death.

The attacks, which happened between 2004 and last year, sent shock waves through communities in the area.

Limpopo police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo, said investigations led them to a man staying in Vuwani.

At the time the children disappeared, Mulaudzi was allegedly employed as a contractor in Modimolle.

He was employed as a builder for RDP houses in the area.

"We believe we have made a breakthrough in arresting a suspect in connection with the rapes and the murder cases that were committed in Modimolle," Mojapelo said.

Mulaudzi appeared in the Modimolle magistrate's court on Friday and he was remanded in custody until next Thursday - to allow for further police investigations.

A Sowetan source said Mulaudzi was positively identified by a Modimolle woman he also allegedly raped.

DNA tests belonging to the woman allegedly matched those conducted on the bodies of the dead children, according to the source.

Mulaudzi is facing seven murder charges and eight rape counts.

Three children from the area are still missing and police are investigating possible links to their murder suspect.

The victims' ages range between four and 13 years.

l Four years ago, police arrested two men in connection with the murder of Sello Chokoe, a 10-year-old boy from Moletjie who was found with missing body parts.

The two suspects were later released because of a lack of evidence linking them to the crime.

Sello's genitals, right hand and ear, were removed and no one was ever charged for his murder.