As the country observes the annual 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children campaign, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is highlighting the work of its men and women in blue who go beyond the call of duty to protect women and children .
In a statement on Sunday, the SAPS described these women and men as ‘game changers’ in their respective fields .
Among these game changers is Sergeant Molwantoa Rapakgadi, a seasoned detective attached to the SAPS Gauteng’s Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations (SECI) unit .
SECI is a specialised unit within the provincial Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit that investigates serial rapists and offenders involved in child pornography .
To date, Rapakgadi has secured 57 life term sentences and an additional 3074 years in prison for 17 serial rapists .
“He is certainly living up to his first name as Molwantoa – loosely translated from Sepedi, which means warrior,” said SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe .
Rapakgadi consistently strives for service excellence and in 2020 was awarded with a Certificate of Commendation by the National Commissioner of the SAPS for successfully linking six accused, dubbed the ‘Six Men Syndicate,’ to a series of crimes they committed around the areas north of Gauteng, Klipgat in North West and Modimolle in Limpopo between 2010 and 2018 .
Rapakgadi’s meticulousness and the application of forensic techniques resulted in Blessing Mabeshu, Thomas Ndlovu, Kenneth Maphosa, Talent Nkala, Bongani Masuku and Prince Ngwenya being found guilty on multiple counts that include rape, murder, attempted murder, house robbery and collectively sentenced to 40 life terms and 1793 years imprisonment .
During their reign of terror, the six would pounce on their victims during a house robbery where they would proceed to rape, assault and rob their victims .
The six men were also linked to a murder of a police officer in Soshanguve and sentenced accordingly .
Rapakgadi said he takes pride in his work and hardly takes leave or books off sick .
“Being a detective is my calling and it gives me great pleasure to solve complex cases .
Most of my suspects are unknown at first, but through various investigative techniques, I am able to identify, trace and arrest these serial rapists,” said Rapakgadi .
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an international United Nations-endorsed initiative that takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day) .
The period was designated by the United Nations General Assembly to raise public awareness on gender-based violence (GBV) in line with resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999 .
The campaign focuses on raising awareness to the devastating impact that gender-based violence and femicide has on women and children, and the social fabric of society .
Deputy President Paul Mashatile presided over the launch of the campaign on Saturday, 25 November 2023 at the Nsikazi Stadium in Mbombela Local Municipality in Mpumalanga .