South Africa's 'worst rapist' hangs himself before trial

JOHANNESBURG Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:17am EDT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A man suspected of being South Africa's worst known serial rapist has been found dead in his prison cell hours before he was to go trial on charges that included sexually assaulting 34 children, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Sifiso Makhubo, 42, was facing a total of 122 charges for murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder by infecting his victims with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

He was thought to have hanged himself with a blanket in his prison cell and authorities were investigating the circumstances of his death.

The horrific nature and breadth of the crimes shocked South Africa, a country inured to some of the world's highest levels of sexual violence.

In the year to April 2012, more than 64,000 sexual offences, including rape, were reported among South Africa's 50 million people. Of these, more than 25,000 were assaults on children.

In 2010, South Africa recorded 132.4 cases of reported rape per 100,000 population, by far the highest among countries that reported statistics to the United Nations, compared to 27.3 in the United States or 2.1 in Uganda. Reporting rates and definitions of rape do, however, vary sharply from country to country.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
concerneddoc wrote:
He seems to have ruined the lives of many, many people before being jailed. I don’t know the details of the case. How did he get away with committing so many criminal acts and not getting caught?
But we in the United States have the same problems. Doctor Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania practiced for many, many years vivisecting unborn babies and killing so many viable near term and term babies by cutting their spinal cords and brains.
Why it took so long for authorities to do anything is how abortionists and rapists are treated these days-with kid gloves. Women are the major victims of the likes of this South African monster and this USA Philadelphia, PA monster.

Jul 29, 2013 8:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus