‘Facebook serial rapist’ sentenced in Mpumalanga high court

The man used the social media platform to lure unemployed women and then ended up raping and robbing them.

The Graskop High Court in Mpumalanga has sentenced ‘Facebook serial rapist’ Ernest Ben Mdluli (40) to life plus an additional 75 years’ imprisonment after being convicted on six counts of rape and two of robbery.

Mdluli, who is from Acornhoek, was convicted and sentenced on Tuesday, for crimes that occurred between July 2020 and December 2021.

Mpumalanga NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa says the incidents occurred in areas surrounding Acornhoek.

Ernest Ben Mdluli (40). Photo: Mpumalanga NPA.

“Mdluli would target his victims on Facebook and send them messages relating to jobs at guesthouses and lodges. He would advise them to meet him so he can take them to the place of employment,” explains Nyuswa.

“On arrival, he would tell the victims that the work vehicle was busy transporting staff members and they needed to walk, taking a shortcut through the bushes. In the bush, he would threaten them with a knife and rape them.”

She says he injured one victim by cutting her fingers during the struggle between them for the knife. He robbed two of the victims of R200 each and others of their cellphones.

Nyuswa says Mdluli was arrested and linked to the offenses through DNA. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Evidence presented in court

State advocate Thobeka Phungula led evidence of the victims, which was supported by DNA evidence as well as J88 medical reports.

In aggravation of the sentence, Phungula addressed the court and said Mdluli is a danger to society, that his offences were planned and the victims were exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. Phungula added that he took advantage of the victims being unemployed.

Victim impact statements compiled by court preparation officer Nomfundo Mokoena detailed how the incidents negatively impacted the victims.

The court found no reason to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and the accused was sentenced accordingly. The court further declared Mdluli unfit to possess a firearm as part of the sentence.

Nyuswa says the NPA welcomed the sentence and urged the public to exercise caution when using social media platforms.

Read original story on lowvelder.co.za

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