The Gauteng Local Division High Court based in Johannesburg delivered a guilty verdict against Gift Mkhwanazi (33) also known as Mask Man or the Beast of Tembisa.

The townships of Ivory Park, Ebony Park and Kaalfontein can breathe a sigh of relief after the serial rapist who terrorised the communities for 5 years was found guilty on Thursday, 19 August 2021.

Mkhwanazi has been found guilty of more than 100 charges. He has been convicted of raping 47 women in 5 years between 2013 and 2019.

The charges include rape, possession of unlicensed firearm, kidnapping, pointing of firearms and robberies.

A total of 147 charges were bought against Mkhwanazi. The medium sized man would wear torn jeans, wear a balaclava covering his face and carry a firearm or knife on his crime spree. He’s modus operandi included:

  1. Searching for his victims in the Ivory Park, Ebony Park or Kaalfontein areas.
  2. Once located, he would threaten them with either a knife or a firearm.
  3. On several occasions the perpetrator stabbed or shot his victims before taking them against their will to a secluded area nearby.
  4. Here, he would sexually assault each victim.
  5. On every occasion without fail, he would conclude each incident by stealing the victim’s phone and other valuables.

Mkhwanazi was arrested on the 11th of December 2019 after police traced one of the cellphones he took from a victim and linked his semen DNA to other cases.

His first known attack took place on the evening of 22 December 2013. The victim, a young woman, was walking home through the Ivory Park area when the accused grabbed her from behind.

He began to strangle her, preventing her from screaming, before demanding that she hand over her cell phone. He then dragged her to an abandoned address and violently raped her.

In May 2018, he allegedly approached four women walking through Ivory Park.
After shooting his firearm into the air, he led them all to an empty park, where he proceeded to brutally rape all four of them before taking their cell phones.

Another victim told the court she went to celebrate her sister’s birthday at a tavern in Ivory Park on 29 June 2019. She said Mkhwanazi, who was wearing a balaclava, followed her, her sister and a friend to their gate, where he grabbed her from behind.
He threatened them with a firearm demanding money and cell phones and then forced them to go with him to a nearby park. At the park he demanded them to undress and perform oral sex on him. He proceeded to rape all of them and forced them to lie down as he escaped from the scene.

One by one, victims recounted similar horror stories of rape, kidnapping and intimidation.

The serial rapist did not show any remorse throughout the trial and coldly faced his victims in the courtroom. Only 15 of his victims testified in court out of more than 30 identified victims. He possibly raped more than 50 women however most of them haven’t come forward for fear of retribution.

Mkhwanazi told the court that he had never met the victims and that he was not near the scenes of the crimes.

Sentencing has been postponed to September 7th.

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