Childhood & Early Life
Moses Sithole was born on November 17, 1964, in Vosloorus, near Boksburg, Transvaal Province (now Gauteng). He was one of the five children of Simon and Sophie Sithole. His father died when he was 5, and his mother, unable to raise the children single-handedly, left them at a local police station.
Sithole and his siblings grew up in an orphanage. He later revealed that he was mistreated at the orphanage.
According to Sithole, he was a teenager when he was first arrested for rape and was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment. He later claimed that the imprisonment had turned him into a criminal.
Sithole was quite sexually advanced even at a tender age. He had several relationships, but those were short-lived. Some theories suggest that his mother's act of deserting and neglecting him and his siblings had played a significant role in turning him into a misogynist.
He reportedly shared his past relationship traumas with some of his rape victims
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It is not known exactly when Sithole committed his first crime. However, his first recorded crime dates back to September 1987, when he allegedly raped a 29-year-old woman named Patrica Khumalo. She testified against him at his 1996 trial.
Subsequently, three of his rape victims, came out in public. One of them was Buyiswa Doris Swakamisa, who was reportedly attacked in February 1989. Her police complaint got him arrested and tried.
In 1989, Sithole was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment in the 'Boksburg Prison,' for raping Swakamisa. Sithole claimed his innocence throughout the trial and was released in 1993 on the grounds of good behavior.
Sithole realized that if the rape victims went free, it could put him in trouble. Soon, reports claimed that four young black women had been found dead (raped and strangled, according to investigations) in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, between January and April 1995.
Soon, a series of rapes and murders were reported in that area. Unfortunately, the media did not pay much attention to the case. The police continued to discover dead bodies in the area.
On July 17, 1995, a witness claimed he had seen Sithole with a young woman whose dead body was later found. However, the witness failed to identify the killer as Sithole.
The 'Pretoria Murder and Robbery Unit' established a special investigating team to determine whether it was an act committed by a serial murderer.
On September 16, 1995, another body was found, at the Van Dyk Mine, near Boksburg.
The worried local authorities sought help from retired FBI criminal profiler Robert Ressler. He began his investigation on September 23, 1995.
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All those who had known Sithole claimed he was mild-mannered. While the investigation of the crimes was on, he was managing a shell organization named 'Youth Against Human Abuse,' which worked against child abuse.
Sithole had committed murders in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, then in Boksburg, and eventually in Cleveland. His crime pattern was hence called the “ABC murders.”
By 1995, he was accused of over 30 murders. In some cases, as later revealed, he would call the victims' families to taunt them. The ongoing panic among the public prompted President Nelson Mandela to visit Boksburg and appeal to people to assist the investigation.
According to the reports of the investigation, the victims were subjected to the murderer's frustration, for his own pleasure.
Sithole primarily targeted black women between 18 and 45. He promised most of them jobs in his ersatz charity. He would then take them to remote fields, where he would rape them. He would then strangle the victims with their own underwear.
Sithole later revealed that his victims reminded him of the women who had falsely accused him of rape in the past.
In August 1995, Sithole was seen with one of the victims, but he escaped after SAPS investigators learned about his previous rape verdict.
The investigators found that one of the victims, Amelia Rapodile, was last seen before she went to meet Sithole on September 7 that year. It was found that she was offered a job.
The body of another victim, Agnes Mbuli, was discovered near Benoni on October 3, 1995. The same day, Sithole called South African journalist Tamsen de Beer, claiming to be the killer. He indicated that all of his 76 murders (almost double of what was reported) were his ways of avenging his unjust imprisonment.
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An attempt to trap him failed, and three more bodies were discovered over the following 10 days. Following this, his profile was made public.
Sithole tried to reach his family members for help, but undercover police personnel intercepted him on October 18, 1995. While trying to escape, he attacked a constable and was shot in the leg and stomach.
He was admitted to a local hospital and was later moved to the 'Military Hospital' in Pretoria, where he admitted his crimes.
On October 23, 1995, Sithole was accused of 29 murders in the magistrates' court in Brakpan. On November 3, he was moved to 'Boksburg Prison' to wait for his trial. He had served 2 years of imprisonment there, for a rape he had committed.
Around the same time, he was reported to be HIV positive.
Sithole's trial began on October 21, 1996. He was charged with 38 murders, 40 rapes, and six robberies. He pleaded not guilty to all of them.
During the trials, Sithole maintained a cool and calm demeanor.
On December 3, 1996, the prosecution released a video of Sithole admitting to committing 29 murders. He revealed that he had begun his murder spree in July 1995, selecting only those who resembled Buyiswa Doris Swakamisa, who was responsible for his first jail sentence.
However, the legality of the tape was questioned, as it was shot in a jail cell. Hence the trial was delayed until January 29, 1997. Sithole's original confession further dragged the trial until July 29, 1997, when the tape was finally considered as evidence.
The prosecution restored its case on August 15. On December 4, Sithole was found guilty of all charges.
Since the death sentence was unconstitutional in South Africa back then, on December 5, Sithole was sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment for each of the 38 murders, 12 years of imprisonment for each of the 40 rapes, and 5 years of imprisonment for each of the six robberies.
The consecutive sentences amounted to 2,410 years of imprisonment and a mandatory 930 years of service to receive eligibility for parole.
Sithole was kept in the 'C-Max' security section of the 'Pretoria Central Prison.' He is currently imprisoned in the 'Mangaung Correctional Centre' in Bloemfontein.