Gauteng's most wanted alleged serial rapist, Sipho Mbatha, is finally behind bars.
Mbatha, 32, was nabbed in the early hours of Saturday morning at an informal settlement near Grasmere, south of Johannesburg, by a team of Lenasia detectives.
Initially, he was wanted for more than 10 cases of rape, kidnapping, pointing of a firearm, attempted murder and armed robbery. He allegedly terrorised women in parts of Lenasia and Soweto.
According to a source close to the investigations, Mbatha could be linked to more than 20 cases of rape and other violent crimes. He has been on the radar of the Lenasia police for a while now. Traps were set for him and he was finally arrested overnight.
Another armed man was also arrested together with Mbatha. The man, believed to be a friend, could also be linked to some of the sexual offences that Mbatha was wanted for.
Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, confirmed that police detectives from Lenasia pounced on Mbatha inside a shack at an informal settlement where he was found hiding.
"Lenasia detectives found Mbatha in possession of a toy gun. He was then interrogated and he later revealed to the police where a real firearm could be found. Police went with Mbatha to a shack in the same squatter camp where the real weapon was found. The shack belonged to a man who Mbatha claimed was his friend.
"Police searched the shack and recovered a 9mm loaded pistol. The man who Mbatha claimed was his friend, was then arrested for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Investigations whether the two could be linked to more offences are continuing," said Dlamini.
Mbatha - who uses several surnames, including Ntombela and Mthethwa, was out on parole after being convicted for a rape in Paulpietersburg, KwaZulu-Natal. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
"Mbatha is known for terrorising the residents of the Lawley informal settlement, near Lenasia and other parts of Soweto. He would threaten to kill the victims if they report him to the police. A warrant for his arrest was issued relating to more than 10 cases of rape, kidnapping, pointing of a firearm, attempted murder and armed robbery," said Dlamini.
Hunt for another alleged serial rapist
Meanwhile, Gauteng police are also on the heels of another wanted alleged serial rapist, Orence Makhubela, 37.
Makhubela is wanted in connection with 13 cases of rape in Diepsloot and Westonaria.
"He is suspected to be in the areas of Tzaneen in Limpopo, or Diepsloot. He had been attacking his victims in the early hours of the morning or late at night. He is also wanted for other serious crimes, including housebreaking, house robbery, kidnapping, theft and attempted rape. A warrant for his arrest has also been issued," he said.
"Members of the Gauteng Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit are appealing to the members of the public to be on the lookout for Makhubela who might be armed and considered dangerous. People are asked to assist in tracing the most wanted suspect who is also wanted for other violent crime," he said.
Members of the public were advised not to confront Makhubela, but rather contact the nearest police station or the investigating officer.
Anyone who may know the whereabouts of the two suspects can contact Sergeant Jack Ngobeni at 079 890 7936 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111 at all hours.
Dlamini said that anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of Makhubela may be rewarded.