Moses Sithole

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Moses Sithole
Born (1964-11-17) 17 November 1964 (age 54)
Other namesThe ABC Killer
The South African Strangler
The Gauteng Killer
Criminal penalty2,410 years' imprisonment
VictimsAt least 38
Span of crimes
CountrySouth Africa
Date apprehended
18 October 1995

Moses Sithole (born 17 November 1964) is a South African serial killer and rapist who committed the ABC Murders,[1] so named because they began in Atteridgeville, continued in Boksburg and finished in Cleveland, a suburb of Johannesburg. From July 16, 1994 to November 6, 1995, Sithole murdered at least 38 people.

Early life[edit]

Moses Sithole was born in 1964 in Vosloorus, a poor township near Boksburg, Transvaal Province (now Gauteng). When he was 5, his father died, and his mother abandoned the family.[2] Sithole and his siblings spent the next three years in an orphanage, where he later said they were mistreated. By his own account, Sithole was arrested for rape in his teens and spent seven years in prison.[2] He later blamed his imprisonment for turning him into a murderer. He explained his crimes by saying that the women he murdered all reminded him of the women who had falsely accused him of rape years before.[2]


To the people around him, Sithole appeared to be a mild-mannered individual. At the time of his crimes, he was managing a shell organization, Youth Against Human Abuse, ostensibly devoted to the eradication of child abuse. After a while, Sithole moved his focus to Boksburg and eventually to Cleveland. By 1995, he had claimed over thirty victims, sparking nationwide panic. In some cases, he would later phone the victims' families for no other apparent reason than to taunt them.[3] At one point, President Nelson Mandela visited Boksburg in person to appeal for public assistance in apprehending the killer.[2]


Sithole targeted African women and teenage girls between the ages of 18-45. Most of his victims were interviewing for positions with Sithole's ersatz charity. Sithole would take them to remote fields, and proceeded to beat, rape, and murder them. They were generally strangled with their own underwear.[2] He would then write the word "bitch" on their dead bodies before dumping them. He once raped a victim with a stick. And in another instance, he injured the two-year-old son of one of his victims in the head and left him to die from exposure.[2] The first set of murders took place in the township of Atteridgeville, near Pretoria.


In August 1995, Sithole was identified as having been seen with one of the victims. After SAPS investigators learned details of his previous rape conviction, he disappeared. In October 1995, Sithole contacted South African journalist Tamsen de Beer and identified himself as the wanted murderer.[2] During a phone conversation to de Beer, he indicated that the killings were carried out in revenge for his unjust imprisonment and claimed 76 victims, twice as many as those reported. Finally, in order to prove his identity, Sithole gave directions to where one of the bodies had been left.[4] Local authorities subsequently cornered Sithole in Johannesburg, shooting the suspect when he attacked a constable with a hatchet. Sithole was driven to the hospital, where he was found to be HIV positive.[2][5]

Trial and imprisonment[edit]

On 5 December 1997, Sithole was sentenced to fifty years' imprisonment for each of the thirty-eight murders, twelve years' imprisonment for each of the forty rapes, and five years' imprisonment for each of six robberies. Since his sentences run consecutively, the total effective sentence is one of 2,410 years. Justice David Carstairs ordered that Sithole would be required to serve at least 930 years before being eligible for parole. The judge also told Sithole that had capital punishment not been abolished, he would have been sentenced to death. Sithole was incarcerated in C-Max, the maximum security section of Pretoria Central Prison. He is currently incarcerated in Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein.


Number Name Sex Age Date of Murder Notes
1 Marina Monene Monama F 18 July, 16 1994
2 Amanda Kebofile Thethe F 26 August 6, 1994 His mistress
3 Joyce Thakane Mashabela F 32 August 19, 1994
4 Refilwe Amanda Mokale F 24 September 7, 1994
5 Rose Rebothile Mogotsi F 22 September 18, 1994
6 Unidentified victim F Unknown December 1994 Discovered on January 3, 1995
7 Beauty Nuku Soko F 27 January 1995
8 Sara Matlakala Mokono F 25 March 3, 1995
9 Nikiwe Diko F Unknown April 7, 1995 Was raped with a stick; Discovered June 24
10 Letta Nomthandazo Ndlangamandla F 25 April 12, 1995
11 Sibusiso Nomthandazo Ndlangamandla M 2 April 20, 1995 Letta's son; incidental; injured in the head and died from exposure
12 Esther Moshibudi Mainetja F 29 May 12, 1995
13 Granny Dimakatso Ramela F 21 May 23, 1995 Discovered July 18
14 Elizabeth Granny Mathetsa F 19 May 25, 1995 Discovered June 16
15 Mildred Ntiya Lepule F 28 May 30, 1995 Discovered July 26
16 Francina Nomsa Sithebe F 25 June 13, 1995
17 Ernestina Mohadi Mosebo F 30 June 22, 1995
18 Elsie Khoti Masango F 25 July 14, 1995 Discovered August 8
19 Josephine Mantsali Mlangeni F 25 July 17, 1995
20 Oscarina Vuyokazi Jakalase F 30 August 8, 1995 Discovered August 23
21 Unidentified victim F Unknown August 9, 1995
22 Makoba Tryphina Mogotsi F 26 August 15, 1995 Discovered September 17
23 Unidentified victim F Unknown August 28, 1995
24 Unidentified victim F Unknown August 30, 1995
25 Nelisiwe Nontobeko Zulu F 26 September 4, 1995 Discovered September 17
26 Amelia Dikamakatso Rapodile F 43 September 17, 1995
27 Unidentified victim F Unknown September 12, 1995
28 Monica Gabisile Vilakazi F 31 September 12, 1995 Discovered September 17
29 Hazel Nozipho Madikizela F 21 September 17, 1995
30 Tsidi Malekoae Matela F 45 September 17, 1995
31 Unidentified victim F Unknown September 17, 1995
32 Unidentified victim F Unknown September 17, 1995
33 Unidentified victim F Unknown September 17, 1995
34 Agnes Sibongile Mbuli F 20 September 17, 1995 Discovered October 3
35 Unidentified victim F Unknown October 9, 1995
36 Beauty Ntombi Ndabeni F Unknown October 10, 1995 Discovered October 11
37 Unidentified victim F Unknown October 14, 1995
38 Unidentified victim F Unknown November 6, 1995

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kendal, Rebekah (3 May 2007). "Worst criminals of SA". Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 176. ISBN 0760775664.
  3. ^ A&E Biography - Moses Sithole
  4. ^ Greig, Charlotte (2005). Evil Serial Killers: In the Minds of Monsters. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 177. ISBN 0760775664.
  5. ^ "South African Strangler: Moses Sithole". Notorious. The Biography Channel.

External links[edit]