Cops arrest 'Birthday rapist'

2012-03-04 13:35

Johannesburg - A 28-year-old man awaiting trial for a string of crimes relating to the rape of 12 women was re-arrested on Sunday morning, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

"He was arrested at 09:00 in Pietermaritzburg this morning," spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said. "I was told he did not offer any resistance."

Mlungisi Mtshali was supposed to appear in court on Wednesday, but it was discovered he had been "erroneously released" by correctional services, Mhaga said on Friday.

Mtshali, who had been at large since February 13, had already threatened witnesses, who "fear for their lives", Mhaga said.

Mtshali was dubbed "the birthday rapist" because his modus operandi allegedly involved telling young women it was his birthday and inviting them to celebrate with him at a nearby restaurant or bar.

He allegedly would later ask one of them to accompany him to fetch his sister or a friend, taking a metered taxi into Hillbrow or central Johannesburg.

Mtshali then allegedly lured the women into a hotel room under the pretext of fetching his sister, the friend, or his luggage, and rape her.

He faces 120 charges, including rape, fraud, robbery, and kidnapping.

Mhaga said the NPA was making arrangements for Mtshali to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Monday.

"We are hoping that we will get all the witnesses so we can proceed with the trial [on Monday]."

"We are commending the police for their tireless effort to ensure he was arrested and behind bars in such a short space of time," Mhaga said.

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