Officer’s hardest case

2014-07-19 00:00

AFTER four years of fighting for justice and endless court hearings, Captain Bonginkosi Mncube could finally put his biggest case to rest.

On Thursday, Hawks member ­Mncube’s hunt for the man who terrorised the town, saw a serial killer and rapist from Empangeni handed five life sentences.

Ntokozo Mthimkhulu (36) was sentenced to five life terms plus 42 years’ imprisonment for five counts of rape, five of robbery and five of murder in the Mthunzini high court on Thursday.

Mncube started the investigation in September 2010 after the bodies of five women were discovered over a period of time in a sugarcane field in the Empangeni area.

“I’ve been exposed to serious crimes for so long, but this had been the hardest case in my 19 years of service,” he said. “It was difficult to figure out if some of the women had been strangled or shot, because their bodies had been so badly decomposed by the time they were discovered.”

Mncube’s breakthrough came when cellphones and other stolen items found on Mthimkhulu, were traced back to the victims. He was arrested in September 2012.

It was careful tracking of cellphone networks detailing the use of the victims’ cellphones, that initially led to Mthimkhulu’s arrest.

In the end, it was DNA and persistent police work that put him behind bars.

“We first linked the murders because they all had been robbed, raped, strangled and their bodies were left in the same sugarcane field.

“What shocked me at first was that this man was so handsome and so unassuming; I didn’t understand until I spoke to him and knew by his attitude that this was definitely the guy.”

During the investigation, Mncube had to make a conscious decision not to let the job impact on his own family life.

Not an easy task, he admits, as “this case had hit home”.

“I am a father and I have kids. Some of the murdered women left behind kids.”

He said often people like the rapist have gotten away with one offence, and “they feel that they have graduated and commit worse offences”.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.