South Africa's rape nightmare: ‘I don’t know what makes these men tick’
Police lose key weapon in war on serious crime as last forensic psychologist quits
Lonwabo Solontsi smirked and raised his middle finger to the media this week as he was sentenced to a jail term that may prevent him from ever seeing the outside of a prison again.
The 29-year-old "pervasive and non-remedial psychopath" - who raped 39 victims in the Eastern Cape, including several teenagers and an 11-year-old - was until his arrest among the hundreds of serial rapists stalking women across South Africa.
Experts said South Africa was a "ticking time bomb" of serial killers and rapists, with police identifying on average between 200 and 300 new cases each year. Many of the perpetrators are never caught.
South Africa ranks among the world's worst three countries - after the US and Russia - for serial murders and rapes.
Activists for children's and women's rights said the violent siege under which the vulnerable live in South Africa points to a country with a broken psyche, where citizens are filled with a burning rage and lack any form of empathy.Compounding the problem is the loss of highly skilled police officers due to poor pay and huge workloads. At its peak the police's investigative psychology section had seven forensic psychologists, who assisted in profiling, tracking and arresting some of the country's most heinous criminals, as well as testifying in court. It now has none.
Forensic psychologists are especially key in identifying serial attackers.
Among the country's known active serial rapists are:
Gauteng's Putfontein Plumber rapist, who has raped 55 people, 40 of them schoolgirls;
The Westville rapist, who has raped 12 women outside Durban;
The Hammanskraal rapist, who has raped 11 women around Pretoria;
The Kimberley Kagisho rapist, who has raped eight women;
The Garden Route rapist, who has raped seven women around taxi ranks in the southern Cape; and
The Stellenbosch rapist, who has raped four women near Cape Town...