Moses Sithole

Moses Sithole

Moses Sithole
Also known as: The South African Strangler
Born: November 17, 1964 (1964-11-17) (age 45)
Vosloorus, Gauteng, South Africa
Number of victims: 38+
Span of killings: 1994–1995
Country: South Africa
Date apprehended: August 1995

Moses Sithole (November 17, 1964) is a South African serial killer who committed the “ABC Murders”, so named because they began in Atteridgeville, continued in Boksburg and finished in Cleveland, a suburb of Johannesburg.


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Early life

Sithole was born in Vosloorus, a poor neighbourhood of Boksburg in apartheid-era South Africa. When he was five, his father died, and his mother abandoned the family. Sithole and his siblings spent the next three years in an orphanage, where he later said they were mistreated. He ran away back to his mother, who sent him back to the orphanage. He eventually moved in with his older brother.

He began raping women in his twenties, claiming three victims before one finally testified against him. He was sent to prison, during which he himself was sexually assaulted by other prisoners. His murder spree began in 1994, shortly after his release.


Sithole would gain access to victims by pretending to be a businessman and offering them work, going so far as to invent a fictional charity organization. Once he had gained their trust, he would offer to walk them through a veld (an Afrikaans word literally meaning “field”) to the “business headquarters” until they were out of sight and hearing range; he would then overpower, rape and strangle them. By 1995, he had claimed over 30 victims, igniting a nationwide panic.


In August 1995, Sithole was identified as having been seen with one of the victims; police soon discovered details of his fake business and previous rape conviction. Panicked, he went on the run. He called journalist Tamsen de Beer and identified himself as the killer. At the third call he gave De Beer a number to call back. The police rushed to the pay phone he was calling from, but they were too late. Shortly after that Sithole contacted his brother-in-law, who promised him to help him get a gun and arranged a meeting. The brother-in-law notified the police, but Sithole sensed a trap at the meeting spot and ran. Police shot him twice when he charged them with an axe, wounding him before taking him into custody. He eventually confessed to the murders.

Trial and imprisonment

On December 5, 1997, Sithole was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for each of the 38 murders, 12 years imprisonment for each of the 40 rapes, and five years imprisonment for each of the six robberies. Since his sentences run consecutively, the total effective sentence is thus one of 2,410 years. Justice David Carstairs ordered that Sithole would be required to serve at least 930 years before being eligible for parole (in around 2927). He is incarcerated in C-Max, the maximum security section of Pretoria Central Prison.

He was reported in 2000 to have AIDS.[1]

See also

  • Elias Xitavhudzi


  1. ^ Newton, p. 207
  • Newton, Michael (2000). The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York: Checkmark Books. p. 207. ISBN 0816039798. 
NAME Sithole, Moses
DATE OF BIRTH November 17, 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH Vosloorus, Gauteng, South Africa

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