News of the arrest last week of an alleged serial killer, who left a trail of destruction, pain and suffering for victims and their families, has brought a sigh of relief to the communities around Thohoyandou, and Univen in particular.
A week after his arrest and subsequent appearance in court, the public is still anxious to know who the man is.
Ndivhuho Ntsieni (24) of Golgotha in Thohoyandou, a final-year BSc student at the University of Venda, was arrested last week after intensive police investigations. He has been linked to 16 charges, which include four of murder. During his appearance in the Thohoyandou Magistrate's Court last Thursday, the court was filled to capacity and hundreds of curious members of the community were left outside the court premises. They just wanted to have a glimpse of the man who had allegedly brought a tense atmosphere of fear to the Univen area.
Limpopo Mirror wanted to find out who this man, dubbed the alleged “silent” killer by those who knew him, is.
Ntsieni registered at the University of Venda for a BSc degree in 2009, but could not complete his degree in the normal time as he had failed some modules. Last year, he failed one module, wrote a supplementary exam and failed again. He also failed the special examinations and, as a result, he could not graduate. He came back this year and registered for the module on 22 July, shortly before he was arrested.
Most of those interviewed by this paper expressed shock at the news that Ntsieni could be the killer and rapist who had stalked women around Thohoyandou. “I arrived at the university in 2011 and found Ntsieni there as a senior student. He was very humble and went the extra mile in motivating us as new students to study hard. He also told us to apply for bursary opportunities to ease the financial burden on our parents,” said a fellow student, who is an acquaintance of Ntsieni.
He said the man was a friend to all at their school and was always handy in times of need. “He was one of the most loved people in the department. He had many friends and was known by almost everybody in the department. His command of the English language endeared him even to the lecturers, who knew that a class would not end without his making an input or asking a question,” he said.
The student said Ntsieni's arrest came as a big shock to him and his friends in the department. “I was with him in the morning of the day he was arrested. He asked for some work that he had missed and it was just natural that I would help him as he also gave us some previous question papers and research.
"We are still in shock, and it is hard to believe that a man who seemed unable to hurt a fly could be suspected of being a killer who had caused harm to so many people. He never showed any signs that he could be the killer. We spoke openly about everything, including girlfriends. I just wish I could see him and ask him whether he is indeed the killer, but we will just wait for the law to take its own course,” he said.
A woman who has been very vocal about the murder and rapes in the area said she had not known that she had been living in the same street as the suspected killer. “I live only three houses from his rented room in Golgotha. We used to have meetings about what measures could be taken to stop the killer in his tracks and this man also attended the meetings. We thought that the man attended as a concerned member of the community."
She said man was very humble and well liked by all in her street. “This young man was well mannered and he did not pass without greeting a person. We never expected that he could have a dark side in his life. We even allowed him into our homes when he needed help," she said.
She added that she was still in shock and thanked God that the man had been arrested "before he could do more harm."
A woman who stayed with him at the rented house said that they still did not believe that he could be the killer. "He was a humble, dedicated and focussed young man, with a bright future ahead. He was loved by all in the house. We are still in shock and we feel like we are dreaming," she said.
Date:01 August 2014 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.