Captain Rudzani Malange pounced on a 71-year-old serial rapist at a retail store after learning that that’s where the pensioner collected his social grant.
Malange had visited Boxer store in Alexandra, northern Johannesburg, twice before arresting Shadrack Ndini Khumalo in October.
Khumalo had been on the run from police since 2006 when he raped his first victim.
On Tuesday, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg gave the 71-year-old four life sentences and an additional 84 years imprisonment for raping five women.
He lured his victims by making them believe that he had found jobs for them. His reign of terror started in 2006, targeting women in Johannesburg areas like Linden, Midrand, Sophiatown and Montgomery Park. He also operated in Edenvale, Ekurhuleni.
Khumalo arranged to meet with the victims in secluded places, where he then raped and robbed them.
Malange, who joined the police in 1991, said he was handed Khumalo’s file in August last year when police could not trace him.
“I had his profile because he was arrested for rape in 2006 but the charges were dropped because the victim could not be traced at the time,” Malange said.
“During my investigations I learnt that he was receiving a social grant. I contacted the SA Social Security Agency and his profile showed that he frequently collected his money at the [Boxer] store.”
Malange said he met Khumalo at the store’s entrance.
“He was wearing formal clothes and a leather jacket. I approached him and complimented him for the way he was dressed.
“I then asked him for his name and he said he was Shadrack Khumalo. I then introduced myself and informed him that I was arresting him for eight counts of rape.
“He said the women were his girlfriends …”
Acting judge Anthony Thobane said Khumalo had accosted and lied to victims about job opportunities, and lambasted him for taking advantage of the vulnerability of his victims.
He said Khumalo chose his targets with precision.
“Four of the five victims were between the ages of 20 and 30.
“[It] is the typical modus operandi of a serial rapist to target a specific age group. It was a well thought [out] choice of victims.”
Thobane described Khumalo as a bad man whom society must rid itself of.
“You have no respect for women and their rights. You came to court and lied,” the judge said.
During the trial Khumalo initially denied raping the women, claiming he was impotent.
After the state presented DNA evidence that linked him to the rapes, he changed his story and said the women were actually given to him by a sangoma who was treating him for impotence. He said the women were initiates of that sangoma.
Malange, 51, who joined the family violence and child protection unit in 2002 and has put more than 50 sexual offenders behind bars, said Khumalo was the oldest offender he had put in jail to date.
“I am very happy with the sentence. I was worried that he might get a lesser sentence because of his age.
“The women he violated trusted him because they saw a father and a grandfather in him,” he said.