Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Moses Sithole

The David Selepe Connection

Police were never able to tie Moses Sithole to David Selepe. Of course, this does not preclude such a connection from having existed in some form at some time.

On one hand, there are numerous coincidences and points of overlap between the two stories, while on the other, information and evidence thought to be related to Selepe later turned out to belong to Sithole instead.

Messages were written on the first victim, Maria Monama. Although she was originally attributed to Selepe, she was later believed to have been killed by Sithole. Apparently the 18-year-old was the only victim to have been written on. It would appear to be significant that she was also the first. She a beach, he wrote on her according to the Beeld of Oct. 31, 1996. I am not fighting with you please. This was on the right thigh. On the left one, he wrote, We must stay here for as long as you dont understand. In retrospect, the last sentence was a grim prophecy. To whom were these messages directed? Whos the bitchthis woman, all women, the women who hurt him in the past? If its the woman/women who hurt him, then he was telling this victim that she was not the real target of his rage. He was not fighting with Maria, but with this other woman; however, he must continue to kill until women come to somehow understand his pain. If this interpretation is relatively accurate, it indicates remarkable insight into himself, something serial killers apparently tend to lack according to John Douglas. He could also be speaking to those who would find her, perhaps even the police in particular. He wasnt fighting with the police. Perhaps he wanted someone to understand what he was feeling, that he must kill these womenwho are just bitchesto silence his pain? To feel alive?

Amanda Thethe disappeared on Aug. 2, 1994, and was found four days later in Cleveland. Sithole knew Amanda, had visited her house and attended her funeral. Selepe pointed out the location where Amandas body had been found. But Sithole was later identified by his own sister as the man photographed while using Amandas bank card later on Aug. 2. He was also linked to Amanda through DNA. Did they kill her together? Did Sithole kill her and later told Selepe about it in enough detail so that he knew where the body had been left? Did Sithole by some exceedingly bizarre coincidence have sex with Amanda earlier that day and borrow or steal her bank card, and then Selepe killed her later? Did the police coerce Selepe into pointing out this site? Is it relevant that he was shot dead at this particular scene?

A man phoned Dorah Mokoenas employer on Sept. 12, 1994, three days after she went missing. He claimed that Dorah had been in an accident and would not be returning to work. He asked that her employer pay her salary into her account. Supposedly she was in a critical condition and needed the money. When the employer asked the man who he was, he remained silent for some time and then gave his name as Martin. Sithole wasnt charged with this murder, and it remains attributed to Selepe. But, Martin is the alias that recurs again and again in Sitholes story. Did Sithole also murder Dorah? That is one possibility. But if Sithole and Selepe did, in fact, know each other, Selepe may have known of the Martin alias, and may have appropriated it for himself in this instance. Hence the long wait while he was searching for a namepresumably, Sithole would have been quicker in his response, since he frequently used this alias. Or did Sithole place the call? Did they kill her together?

Joyce Mashabela was found in a patch of veld in Pretoria West on Aug. 19, 1994. On Aug. 15, five days after she had disappeared, a man phoned her employer. He gave his name as Moses Sima and said that he had found her identity document in the veld. Her family members collected it from him. Sithole was later charged with Joyces murder. Was he the man who had phoned? If not, its another fascinating name coincidence. In addition, Peggy Bodiles body was found in this very same patch of veld on Oct. 7, 1994, having gone missing three days earlier. Sithole wasnt charged with her murder, and all the bodies attributed to Selepe, apart from Peggy and Joyce (initially) were found in Cleveland. What a coincidence that he would leave this one victim 40 miles away from his graveyard in the exact area where Sithole had left a body two months earlier. Sithole was linked to Joyces body through DNA.

Refilwe Mokale disappeared on Sept. 5, 1994. Eyewitnesses saw her speaking with a man on Church Plain in Pretoria the previous day. Apparently, he had offered her a job and arranged to meet her the next day. An identikit was completed and released on Nov. 10. Sithole was later charged with Refilwes murder, which means that it was probably his identikit and not Selepesif it was indeed the killer who had spoken with Refilwe on that day. If true, Sitholes picture had been released to the public after he had killed only five women (as per the charges eventually brought against him).

When Sithole phoned Tamsen de Beer of The Star, he readily admitted being responsible for the bodies found in Atteridgeville and Boksburg, but he specifically denied involvement in the Cleveland murders. On the controversial prison video, Sithole stated that he had killed his first victim in July 1995. Maria Monama, believed by police to have been his first murder, was killed during July 1994, and found in Cleveland.

Then there was the disclosure by Selepe of his two accomplices, Tito and Mandla. And Sitholes use of Mandla as an alias when he called Monica Gabisiles grandmother.

David Selepe had been linked positively to six of the Cleveland victims, but police has never revealed which six. Even the details of these links, as provided to the press, are sketchy. Police also never answered questions on whether the four victims later attributed to Sithole fell inside or outside the six linked to Selepe. Such instances of nondisclosure in the absence of proper motivation frequently appear to be instances of hiding, or worse, cover-up, and are the most flammable kindling for conspiracy theories.

Sithole claimed he didnt know David Selepe and that he worked alone. Of course, he also claimed that he never killed anyone. Micki Pistorius believes that Sithole would never admit to collaborating with Selepe, because he craves his celebrity status, and wont share his notoriety with another.

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