Durban – Could there be a serial killer roaming the streets of Empangeni and surrounding areas in northern KwaZulu-Natal?
This was what families who were praying for the safe return of their loved ones suspect as more women have gone missing.
At least five women aged between 20 and 30 have gone missing in the past three months in what a police source believed could be the return of a serial killer.
In Empangeni and Richards Bay police stations four women and three men have been reported missing, according to a police source with knowledge of King Cetshwayo Police District police station which falls under Empangeni and Richards Bay.
He added that while police were looking for those reported missing, three decomposed and burned bodies had been discovered in a cane field.
Colonel Thembeka Mbele, KZN police spokesperson, confirmed that four women were reported missing within the Empangeni policing area during the past month.
“These women were from different areas in Empangeni and their disappearances cannot be linked at this stage,” said Mbele.
The police source further revealed that most of the missing people disappeared in town which was unusual.
He said the matter was raised with the authorities at provincial level for their intervention.
In the latest incident, police were looking for Vamile Mhlongo who went missing on Monday after she had gone for a driving test at Empangeni Road Traffic Inspectorate centre.
Her employer Swazi Ndlovu said she contacted police when she could not reach Mhlongo.
“We went to the testing centre and they confirmed that she was there. We went to the taxi rank to check if she did not travel back home at Jozini where she came from but her name was not on the passenger list. It has been very hard for us and her family because she hasn’t done this before,” said Ndlovu.
Her disappearance comes while police were still searching for Thobeka Ngema who went missing on September 12 in Empangeni where she was expected to take a taxi home to Ngwelezane.
Her mother Gloria Ngema said they were called to identify three bodies which had been found by police but it was not their daughter.
She said they were still waiting for a DNA result which was done two weeks ago after a burnt body was discovered in a cane field.
The source said in 2013 they experienced similar cases and it was later discovered that there was a serial killer who was later arrested and sentenced.
“It is very worrying if you look at the number of missing people from all police stations under King Cetshwayo Cluster. We had this problem back in 2013 where a serial killer was roaming around. He was eventually arrested and sentenced to prison, we saw a decline thereafter.
“From what we are witnessing there could be another serial killer roaming around. Although there are males that have been reported missing, the numbers indicate that most of the victims were women under the age of 30,” said the police source.