Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Moses Sithole

Capture

A few days after Sitholes picture appeared in the papers, he contacted his sisters husband, Maxwell. He said that he needed a gun to protect himself and he arranged with Maxwell to meet him at the Mintex factory in Benoni with a firearm. Sitholes sister, Kwazi, had already been in contact with the police since they tracked down the phone number on the Youth Against Human Abuse forms, and Maxwell informed the detectives about Sitholes request.

Captains Vinol Viljoen and Frans van Niekerk seized the opportunity. They met with the factorys management and organised to have Insp. Francis Mulovhedzi pose as a security guardunbeknownst to the other guards. At 9 p.m. on Oct. 18, 1995, Sithole arrived at the factory and asked for Maxwell. The other guards told Insp. Mulovhedzi to go and fetch Maxwell, as he was the new guy but he argued since he didnt want to leave Sithole. This made the latter suspicious and he fled. Insp. Mulovhedzi followed him into a dark alley. He identified himself as a police officer, yelling at Sithole to stop, and finally fired two warning shots. But Sithole, despite his claims to the reporter, would not surrender so easily. He came at the policeman with an axe. This is how Insp. Mulovhedzi later described the events in court, as reported in The Star: He turned back and had an object in his hand and came towards me. My life was in danger and I fired a shot at his legs ... He kept on fighting. He hit me on my right hand and I fired some more shots. He fell to the ground.

Sithole was shot in the stomach and the leg. He was taken to the Glynwood Hospital in Benoni, where he was operated on the next day.

When Brigadier Suiker Britz, National Commander of the Murder and Robbery Units, heard that Sithole had been shot, his heart stopped for a couple of seconds, he later told Beeld in a Nov. 27, 1998, article. It was like some more déjà vu from the David Selepe case, an incident the press had never really let go. I prayed the whole time that Sithole wouldnt die and I called the hospital every hour.

Sithole survived. Two days later he was transferred to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria, where security could be kept much tighter. The strict security was probably more to protect Sithole from the community than vice versa, since he wasnt in much of a condition to escape.

Naturally, news of the arrest of the Gauteng serial killer spread like wild fire. Still, it did not bring the relief one would expect. In Wattville, residents were furious that Kwazi Sithole, an inhabitant of Wattville herself, had not come forward with information about her brother sooner. Overall, however, the underlying emotion seemed rather to be related to fear: We are still afraid. The murders didnt stop after Selepes death, why should they stop now? someone was quoted in the Beeld. Many seemed convinced that there was another accomplice.

Moses Sithole, police ID
Moses Sithole, police ID

On Oct. 23, Moses Sithole was charged with 29 murders in the magistrates court in Brakpan. He was unable to attend due to his injuries.

On Oct. 28, newspapers revealed that Sithole was in all probability HIV-positive. Police refrained from comment. It is uncertain how he contracted the virus, although one of his victims may have been the source.

Of course, unfortunately, Sitholes HIV status also affected others. During 1993, while Sithole was in jail for a previous conviction, he met a woman visiting one of her relatives. Her name was Martha, and they began writing to each other. When he was released later that same year, he moved in with her in Soshanguve, which is some distance north of Pretoria. Later, when Martha got pregnant, she moved in with her parents in Atteridgeville, and Sithole followed some months later. On Dec. 5, 1994, Martha had a baby girl, whom they named Bridget. In Feb. 1995, Sithole paid lobola for Marthaa tradition among the indigenous African people to pay a number of cattle, historically, or more often these days, a sum of money, to the brides family. Later that year, however, they parted ways, after which Sithole apparently slept at train stations. Still, Martha had visited Sithole three times since his arrest. But after the news broke of his possible HIV infection, she would have nothing more to do with him. Both Martha and Bridget were tested; the results are unknown. Marthas sister was upset with the police for not informing them of Sitholes infection. She had the following to say in an article in the Beeld: We were good enough to help the police when they were looking for Moses. The police should have told us, because there are many people living here.

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