He turned into a monster

By Drum Digital
01 December 2010

Her lower lip trembles and goose bumps form on her arms as she recalls that ill-fated night. What started out as a friendly flirtation turned horribly wrong when she found herself trapped in a seedy Hillbrow motel room by alleged Johannesburg serial rapist Mlungisi Mtshali.

“It’s not easy to talk about that night. I’m trying hard to forget it,” Nkateko Mahlangu* says.

We’re in a busy franchise restaurant in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, and the 21-year-old University of Pretoria student is anxious. She’s discreetly dressed in a long floral skirt, T-shirt and sandals and at first she figets constantly, throwing wary glances left and right. Then she leans forward and in a half-whisper she says: “What I’m about to tell you, only my best friend Zinhle knows.”

Unable to relate the gruesome details of her ordeal to her protective family, her emotions run away with her during our interview and she seems relieved to be able to open up about the events of that night.

“The Joburg serial rapist who did this to me is a twisted man,” she says. “Anyone who penetrates someone against her will deserves to burn in hell. His methods were so cruel and the very thought of him makes me sick.”

She lived in fear for 10 months after her attack, but that came to an end when 28- year-old Mlungisi Mtshali was arrested in KwaMashu near Durban recently. His dramatic arrest was the culmination of a lengthy manhunt led by a team of top cops that included Captain Busi Buthelezi, Constable Piet Saaima, Captain Zakhele Zwane (the investigator who ended serial rapist Mongezi Samuel Jingxela’s reign in 2004) and Colonel Gerard Labuschagne (the head of the crack SAPS investigative psychology unit).

They spent months gathering information on Mlungisi, by then unmasked as the nephew of veteran actress Thembi Mtshali- Jones, and finally tracked him down to his KwaMashu hideout. And so, at 1.30 am on Friday 12 November, the task team silently surrounded the house in F-section on Makhathi Road. No sooner had he heard a knock on the door than he tried to escape, but he couldn’t break the police cordon. First he was taken to Durban’s King Edward hospital for a routine medical check-up and then he was transported to Joburg overnight where he was charged on 21 counts including rape, sexual assault, robbery and kidnapping.

Mthunzi Mhaga of the National Prosecuting Authority says Mlungisi is accused of committing at least 12 rapes in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area. He would approach young women between the ages of 19 and 21 and invite them to celebrate his “birthday”. His modus operandi was the same every time and young Nkateko’s story is just like that of the other victims.

Read the full article in DRUM of 9 December 2010

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