Possible Serial Killers on the loose with “ police indifferent and unmotivated to solve the murders because of the men’s sexual orientation”
By Melanie Nathan
A man was murdered in his Braamfontein, Johannesburg, apartment in South Africa and it may be possibly because he was gay, police said on Tuesday. Sergeant Jenny Pillay said 67-year-old Johannesburg Theater manager, Rulov Senekal was found by a neighbor on Sunday afternoon. He was tied-up and had been strangled.
Pillay said it was too soon to say with certainty that Senekal was murdered because he was gay. “We are busy with the investigation, but we obviously can’t rule out any possibility.”
Pillay said Senekal let the two alleged murderers into his flat on Saturday night after he confirmed to security guards that they were legitimate visitors. The men allegedly stole Senekal’s laptop, and fled with a black plastic bag 30 minutes later.
Police were on Tuesday afternoon still searching for the two men, and looking at surveillance camera footage from around the building.
There have been similar deaths in Johannesburg and Pretoria over the past two years, where seven other gay men were found murdered in their homes, also with no signs of forced entry, and little taken from each crime scene. It is possible that the men are connecting online and hence able to enter secured premises with permission.
We previously covered this on OBLOGDEE when on 17 December 2011, 39-year-old activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar was found stabbed to death in his home in Pretoria. The killing occurred in the early morning hours as neighbors heard screams for help, only to find the victim with seven stab wounds to his neck.
Gay rights, health and well-being organization OUT’s director Dawie Nel told The Star newspaper that the organization was in discussion with attorneys in a bid to pressure authorities to act against gay murders.
Via a Pretoria News report, “There is a perception that there is a lack of interest in the cases, in part due to the sexual orientation of the victims,” said Nel. “Added to this, the investigating officers may have limited knowledge or awareness of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and online dating. We fear that someone is preying on gay men, and the authorities appear unwilling to acknowledge this.”
The so far unsolved murders began with that of Manolis Veloudos killed in April 2010, Jim Cathels of Berea in December 2010, Oscar O’Hara in May 2011, an unnamed Northcliffe man in August 2011, Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo in Soweto September 2011, Barney van Heerden of Orange Grove also September 2011 and in December 2011 HIV/Aids activist and TV personality Jason Wessenaar in Pretoria.
South Africa has a Constitution that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but there is no hate crimes legislation in the country at this time.
My theory is that the gay men were hooking up online with this predator whose motive is robbery of small yet valuable items such as computers, electronics and jewelry. The best way to get into highly secured property is with permission of the owner. The only likely group of person to allow an unknown man or men into private home, is a gay man who has sought sex or a meeting of another man via the internet.
I suggest that the police investigate computers and cell phones for similar links to see if there is a common denominator. In the meantime they should be warning all GAY men to refrain from accepting online dates.
It is also important to note that South Africa has a very high murder and crime rate in general. People have gone to great lengths to protect their homes with high walls, security fences and privately hired security companies, as it is widely believes police are unable to cover their beats.