Zimbabwean serial killer, rapist gets 8 life sentences plus 88 years in SA

LIMPOPO, South Africa – A Zimbabwean serial killer has been handed eight life sentences by a court in South Africa for a string of offences including six counts of murder, two counts of rape and five counts of robbery.

Themba Prince Willard Dube, 36, was also found guilty on one count of extortion and one count of being an illegal immigrant.

The Polokwane High Court on Tuesday sentenced Dube, from Mpaya Village in Gwanda, to eight life sentences plus 88 years.

He was acquitted on one count of murder, five counts of rape, two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and seven counts of kidnapping.

The court heard that Dube arrived in South Africa in 2008 without a passport.

He was initially arrested on October 26, 2021, for possession of a stolen mobile phone belonging to a woman who had been kidnapped in Lebowakgomo days earlier.

He was still in custody when police discovered four bodies of women dumped at different locations in Capricorn district, including the owner of the phone that landed him in jail.

Dube subsequently led police to seven locations where he had buried his victims.

During the trial, relatives of the women told how Dube called the victims and introduced himself as David or Prince before going on to offer them employment opportunities.

Once the victims accepted his request to meet, he kidnapped them and took them to several locations including wooded areas near Polokwane Airport, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Dendron Road, Matlala Road and Blood River where they were robbed, raped and killed.

Cruelly, the court heard, Dube went on to extort the women’s relatives by promising to return them alive if they deposited money in the victims’ accounts. He went on to withdraw the money after forcing the victims to volunteer the pin numbers of their bank cards.

Police recovered some of the victims’ property at Dube’s rented room at Seshego Zone 3 in Polokwane.

Prosecutor Advocate Calvin Chauke said Dube had shown no signs of remorse, urging the court to take into consideration the deliberate, careful planning that preceded the commission of the crimes.

Judge Griet Muller told Dube that his crimes were premeditated and said the attacks on the women – some with young children – had scarred their families for life.

The director of public prosecutions Advocate Ivy Thenga said: “We hope this sentence shows that the justice system has no mercy to all criminals who violate our women and children, and we will continue to fight the scourge of gender-based violence.”

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