Mpumalanga 'serial killer' nabbed after 5th woman dies

Mpumalanga police exhuming the bodies of five women 'killed' by Julius Thabiso Mndawe.
Mpumalanga police exhuming the bodies of five women 'killed' by Julius Thabiso Mndawe.
Image: Mandla Khoza

A 25-year-old man has confessed to killing five women and burying them in shallow graves in his yard.

Yesterday, police exhumed three bodies after the man pointed them out in his yard in Numbi village near Hazyview, Mpumalanga.

The discovery of the bodies comes after Julius Thabiso Mndawe was arrested for allegedly killing a 24-year-old woman earlier last week.

In just three days, Mndawe shocked the community when he pointed out five graves in different areas in his yard, including near a pit toilet.

Police said he killed the other four women last year.

"We arrested the suspect after he killed a 24-year-old woman last week. Through investigation, the accused told police that he killed a 15-year-old too and pointed out the grave and we exhumed the body on Friday.

"He later again confessed that there were three more bodies buried at his yard which led the police to continue with the exhumation on Sunday [yesterday] where three bodies were found," provincial police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi said.

He said Mndawe allegedly raped some of his victims.

"According to him him [Mndawe], he raped some of the victims and said he had a relationship with some and they were killed after they had disagreements," said Hlathi.

He said Mndawe appeared in the Masoyi magistrate's court on Wednesday on a count of murder. Mndawe will appear againtomorrow to face five charges of murder, concealment of death and rape.

Community members expressed shock as they watched police exhuming bodies around Mndawe's yard.

"We are scared. This man has been staying with dead bodies in his yard. We have been searching for the people thinking they are missing while he killed them. He is so evil and we thought he was a good young man," said resident Thembi Maseko.

Thabo Mogale said: "We wish the police can bring him here so that we deal with this man. We have lots of people disappearing from this community, not knowing that he kills them."

Provincial police commissioner Gen Mondli Zuma said he was "shocked" by the crime.

"This is very shocking, a young man killing young women like that and burying them around his yard... While family members are searching for their loved ones, he's quietly hiding their bodies."

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