Excellent news from South Africa, where an apparent serial killer or killers have been targeting gay men around Johannesburg. Only days after a task force was created to investigate the murders of eight gay men across Gauteng Province, an arrest has been made in one of the killings.
The 29-year-old was arrested in Orlando on Friday morning for the murder of Siphiwe Nhlapo, who was found bound and strangled in his Kliptown apartment in September last year. Nhlapo, 36, was one of eight men killed in Gauteng in similar circumstances over the past two years.
According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, another man suspected of killing Nhlapo is yet to be arrested. The 29-year-old was due to appear in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the murder. According to a source close to the investigation, the man is said to have confessed to Nhlapo’s killing, as well as other crimes. But it is unclear if the man is in any way related to the other seven deaths over the past two years.
At least eight gay men have been killed during the two year killing spree around Johannesburg. All were discovered bound and strangled with no signs of forced entry. Most victims had online dating profiles. And at least five of the killed gay men were Black, according to photos published in The Star.
The latest killing was on February 26. Detectives reportedly were reviewing video surveillance footage of the two men last seen with 67-year-old Rulov Senekal.
After previously denying that a serial killer was on the loose, police in Gauteng finally assembled a task force last week to investigate the killings. Gauteng province is the highly urbanized Johannesburg-Pretoria megapolis.
The second suspect vanished from his home in the sprawling Soweto township outside Jo'burg, reports The Star.
The police are calling on the public to help find Nhlanhla Msimango, who they believe may provide vital information on Nhlapo’s murder. While Msimango appears to have vanished from his home in Soweto, his cousin was arrested on Friday last week at his home in Orlando in connection with the murder. Phumlani Msimango was charged with housebreaking and robbery with aggravated circumstances at the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Monday. Phumlani will be kept in custody until he applies for bail on Monday.
There is also an unconfirmed report that Msimango may have fled to neighboring Zimbabwe. If that is the case, INTERPOL would have to issue the warrant.
South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. SA is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality. Despite these protections, the reality is much different for many Black LGBT South Africans. Life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant. Brutal so-called "corrective rape" and murder are increasing against lesbians in South Africa's townships, as well as rape and attacks against gay men.