Limpopo ‘Facebook rapist’ to be sentenced next month

The Limpopo man who lured women pretending to be a spiritual healer on social media before raping them, appeared in court on Monday for sentencing. 

Dubbed Facebook rapist, Mukovhe Vincent Makhavhu, 34, went by the name Elma Mutavhatsindi on Facebook, appeared in  the High Court of South Africa in Limpopo, Thohoyandou, on Monday for sentencing.

His case has been postponed to July 25.

The accused is facing four charges of rape, forced sexual assault, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Lured victims pretending to be a spiritual healer

Under his false name Elma Mutavhatsindi, the accused set up a Facebook account. He used it to entice women to a number of locations. These include the Mutshundudi River and Phiphidi, west of Thohoyandou, where he would sexually abuse them.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Makhavhu preyed on gullible women. This he did by posing as a spiritual prophet who fixes marital issues before raping and stealing from them.

The accused is said to have attracted and accumulated over 100,000 followers on his Facebook account.

Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, NPA spokesperson in Limpopo, said the case was postponed because the judge had another matter.

“Judge Tshidada Thogomelani was supposed to rule the case. But she was unable to do so because of another major issue. Therefore she rescheduled the hearing for July 25, 2024,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

Thabo Bester copycat case

This case follows one of the most significant cases in South Africa involving Thabo Bester. He is a convicted murderer and rapist who broke out of the Mangaung Correctional Centre in May 2022. Bester executed his escape by pretending to have died in a fire in his prison cell.

Before being apprehended in Tanzania in April 2023, he had been evading capture for nearly a year. He was in the company of celebrity doctor Nandipha Magudumana, his partner and suspected accomplice. They were both detained and are currently facing numerous charges.

Bester earned the moniker “Facebook rapist” due to his use of the social media site to entice models with fictitious job postings. After entering a guilty plea to two rapes and one murder, he was given a life sentence. He was serving this sentence when he escaped in May 2022 following a fictitious death in a prison fire.  

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