The body of a fifth victim has been found in Pretoria. As in four previous cases, a homeless middle-aged man was bludgeoned and stabbed several times to death.
The body of the latest victim was discovered at a bus terminal, about 400 metres from Unisa’s main campus in Muckleneuk.
“Without sowing panic amongst our communities, especially in the Muckleneuk area, we want to caution the public to be vigilant and be aware of this nocturnal prowler preying on the vulnerable,” Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela stated. “Our [task], as the police, is to work around the clock and make sure that this madness is brought to an end.”
Within the past month, three homeless men were murdered in Muckleneuk. One more was found on a pavement at the corner of Justice Mohammed and Troye streets in Sunnyside on Tuesday morning. According to provincial police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters, “at this point, all victims were male, middle-aged, homeless and killed during the night”.
In the meantime, the homeless people are trying to sleep in groups and have something close at hand to protect themselves with, from sharpened old table legs to shards of glass wrapped in cloth.
“Most of us try to find something to protect ourselves while we sleep, as it’s not just this area where we are being targeted. It’s here at Magnolia Dell, Berea Park, Brown Street and numerous places around the city,” one of them claimed. “From what we hear, the killer is targeting drug addicts around the city, but we don’t know why. The only other rumour we are hearing is that it is a foreign national behind these killings.”
He also mentioned there were more deaths than had been reported with victims being throttled or injected with poison in their sleep.
As per Richard Wildeman from the Tshwane Homeless Advocacy Committee, the homeless are even more afraid of the murders as the police haven’t so far identified the killer or the motives behind the killings.
“Everyone who is living on the streets is scared as they don’t know where it’s safe to sleep any more,” he added.
The police urge anyone with the information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect/s in cases involving the deaths of the homeless men to contact the police anonymously through the Crime Stop Hotline at 0860010111 or SMS Crime Line at 32211.