After homeless people in Muckleneuk, Tshwane, spent the first six months of 2019 living in fear, there hasn’t another attack since the last of five bodies of homeless people was found in the area in June.
According to police, the first body was found in a veld near Mears Park train station on June 1. Two more bodies were found in Magnolia Park on June 8 and 9.
A fourth body was discovered on a pavement on the corner of Justice Mohammed and Troye streets on June 18, and a day later, on June 19, a fifth body was found at a bus stop near Unisa’s main campus.
No more murders of homeless men reported
While not much more is known about the killings, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24 that there haven’t been any reports of murders of homeless men since the fifth body was discovered in June.
There have also been no arrests or linkages.
Almost seven months ago, Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela instructed a high-level task team, comprising forensics specialists, pathologists, criminal psychologists, Crime Intelligence officers and detectives to prioritise the investigation.
But there still hasn’t been any justice for the victims.
News24 previously reported that a homeless man who had been attacked said he lived in constant fear that his attacker would return to finish the job.
The man, who declined to reveal his identity to News24, used to live in Magnolia Park in Muckleneuk – the same park where the bodies of two homeless men were found.
He previously told News24 that he awoke early one morning in May to a man violently stabbing him multiple times.
The attacker was clad in a black hooded jacket and wielded a large knife.
Since the attack, he moved out of Magnolia Park and sleeps in different suburbs in Tshwane.
“I don’t know when this person is coming to finish me. I am scared,” he told News24.
Police also interviewed two homeless men who survived similar attacks.
Peters told News24 the task team had established the men had survived similar attacks in the area.
Identifying the victims
By the end of June, three of the victims had been positively identified. By August, two had been buried after the police managed to trace their families.
At the time, Peters said the police were still trying to locate the third victim’s next of kin.
Earlier in December, Peters told News24 that further progress had been made after the fourth victim had been identified as a foreign national.
The police have not disclosed the identities of the victims because the case is still under investigation.
Suspect arrested for attempted murder of homeless men
Meanwhile, in a case that has not been linked to the murders, a man, who is accused of stabbing two homeless men earlier this year, was arrested on June 26.
The accused, Manusi Mothupi, made several appearances in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court since his arrest, News24 previously reported.
The first charge against him stems from the attempted murder of a man who was stabbed near Magnolia Park on February 21. It is alleged he used a butcher’s knife to stab the homeless man in the stomach, hand and left knee.
The second attempted murder charge relates to an attack on another man on March 3, also in Magnolia Park. Mothupi allegedly stabbed him in his left arm and chest, according to the charge sheet.
Mothupi’s bail application was denied in November and he will remain behind bars until his next appearance on January 23, 2020, when the disclosure of the docket will be made and a trial date will be set.
The police and National Prosecuting Authority said Mothupi was not connected to the murders of the five homeless men.