Man accused of luring models to photoshoots through Facebook before allegedly raping them

An alleged serial rapist, who masqueraded as a model scout, was arrested at a roadblock in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday night following a manhunt, police have said

The 33-year-old is accused of luring young aspiring models to photoshoots through Facebook before allegedly raping them.

In the latest incident, he allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl in Komani on Sunday, and police are investigating him for possible links to more cases across the country.

In a statement on Thursday evening, Eastern Cape provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said the man was due to appear in the Komani Magistrate's Court. He could not confirm the court outcomes at the time of writing.

Kinana said a "police profile" of the man reveals that he has several pending cases of rape against him – from across the country.

Kinana said: "The rape happened after the 17-year-old victim saw an advert on Facebook about photoshoots for young girls who wanted to work and be paid as models. The victim was given a date, 18 May 2020 at 14:00 as the time for her photoshoot. She attended the photoshoot alone with the suspect after other models left. During the photoshoot, it is when the suspect allegedly raped the victim. Although the victim did not know the suspect, she said she was able to identify him."

Kinana added that, through further investigation, police discovered the suspect had several Facebook accounts and was a regular traveller to many destinations all over South Africa.

An internal incident report, that News24 has seen, showed the suspect was an administrator of Facebook pages of at least four modelling agencies purportedly operating from small towns.

The Eastern Cape towns included Komani, King William's Town, Stutterheim and East London.

Kinana added: "In all these different towns, the suspect was advertising to attract young girls to pitch up for the photo sessions. It is believed this is how he lured the unsuspecting victims, chose his targets, and raped them."

Kinana added: "Police managed to get the real identity of the suspect and, under his police profile, there were already several rape cases pending against him."

During his arrest, a laptop, camera, memory cards, cellphone and clothes were seized.

He was arrested following a manhunt involving Crime Intelligence, Family Violence and Child Assault Unit, K9 unit and flying squad.