Siphiwe Nhlapo

Murdered: Siphiwe Nhlapo

Police have arrested another person in connection with one in a series of murders of gay men in Gauteng.

The Star reported that a man who was wanted in connection with the murder of Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo is in police custody.

Nhlapo was killed in his Kliptown, Soweto, home in September 2011. He had been strangled, with acid poured over his face.

The suspect, who has not yet been named, was arrested last month for a hijacking in Dobsonville, Soweto. Police only realised later that he was the same man accused of Nhlapo’s murder.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told journalist Shain Germaner that investigators “will be profiling him to establish if he can be linked to other cases”.

Last year, another man confessed to being an accomplice in the crime but blamed the actual killing on the suspect.

Nhlapo is one of eight gay men murdered in oddly similar circumstances in Gauteng over the past two to three years.

The murders began with Manolis Veloudos, who was killed in April 2010. He was followed by Jim Cathels in Berea in December 2010; Oscar O’Hara (33) in May 2011; a 47-year-old un-named landlord in Northcliff in August 2011; Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo (36) in Soweto in September 2011; Barney van Heerden (39) in Orange Grove, also in September 2011; HIV/Aids activist and television presenter Jason Wessenaar (39) in his Pretoria West home in December 2011; and Rulov Senekal in February 2012.

Three men accused of killing van Heerden will go on trial for his murder next month. Police have not linked them to any of the other attacks.

There have also been a number of similar murders in Cape Town but these have not been conclusively connected to the Gauteng incidents. Police have previously stated that they are investigating the possibility that a gang could be targeting gay men in these areas.

It is thought that at least some of the murdered men may have met their killer or killers through online dating sites and that they could have been targeted by a gang.

Police, who have been accused of dragging their feet in solving these cases, have warned gay men to be extremely cautious about letting strangers into their home.

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