Tracing the bloody trail of Facebook serial killer


. . . MP warns women, urges stricter bail conditions


MOHALE’S HOEK – Thinking she had secured a job, ’Malerato (*not her real name) left her marital home, unaware that this decision would tragically end her life. Originally from Mapoteng in Berea, ’Malerato was lured by a man she met on Facebook who also promised her an intimate relationship. She travelled to meet Lehlohonolo Masoleng in Ha Rantalenyane in Mohale’s Hoek. There, he led her outside the village and murdered her.

The grim details of this case were revealed during a public gathering organised by Thabiso Lekitla, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mekaling, which was held last Thursday at Brakfontein, Mohale’s Hoek. During this event, the Mohale’s Hoek police commander, Senior Superintendent ’Matholoana Tholoana outlined how the remains of ’Malerato, along with three other women, were found following the arrest of 29-year-old Masoleng from Ha Rantalenyane.

SSP Tholoana, part of the investigative team, reported that the body of the first victim was discovered in 2022 in Ha Sankatana, Mohale’s Hoek. She is believed to have been married to the perpetrator. Subsequently, multiple cases of murdered women emerged. By late 2023 or early 2024, the body of a second woman was exhumed from a field, while a third was found in a forest.

“The bodies were severely decayed, reduced to bones, which complicated determining the cause of death,” Tholoana explained. “However, with the help of a pathologist, we determined that all victims suffered head trauma resulting in fractured skulls.” The investigation intensified after the third body was discovered. Following his arrest, Masoleng confessed to murdering not just these three women but a fourth one as well and he led the police to the place where he buried the remains.

The initial three were found by villagers, alerted by a heavy stench. “We are concerned there may be more victims,” Tholoana added. She also highlighted that the perpetrator targeted women and girls aged 17–18, 25–35, and 45 years, enticing them via Facebook with promises of marriage and money and offering transport to isolate them from their communities. She warned women to be vigilant and to protect themselves from such deceit.

The district has a youth voluntary committee that conducts outreach programmes in schools to educate students about the dangers of social media. Recently, they rescued a girl from Maseru who had travelled to meet a boyfriend at Mohale’s Hoek Holy Cross and advised her to return home to prevent a potential tragedy.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, emphasised the importance of self-love and independence for women, warning of the dual nature of social media which can bring good but can also cause harm. In response to the serial murders in Ha Rantalenyane, MPs have vowed to enact stricter laws on bail and firearm possession to ensure justice for victims.

Moeketsi Motšoane, MP for Mafeteng, criticised the leniency of bail conditions that allow dangerous criminals to roam the streets freely, promising to advocate for stringent firearm possession laws to keep offenders incarcerated. Sekhooe Mafereka from Brakfontein, representing the community, expressed hope that resolving bail issues would reduce crime rates nationwide. He called for more rigorous police investigations to determine if the murderer acted alone or had accomplices.

The case eerily recalls Thabo Bester, known as the “Facebook rapist” in South Africa, who used similar methods in 2011 to exploit young women by promising modelling jobs. This led to rape, robbery, and, tragically, murder. Bester, a convicted murderer, operated under multiple aliases, targeting young women across various cities of South Africa. This case serves as a dire reminder of the perils lurking on social platforms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *