SABC 3: Police arrest serial killer and rapist – 14/01/2019

Date: January 14, 2019
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Name of monitor: Patricia Mahachi
Name of Television station: SABC 3
Name of programme: News @ 9
Date of broadcast: 14/01/2019
Genre: News
Time: Time of broadcast: 21:00:21:30
GBV focus: Explicit
Gem Classification: Gender Blind
Story number: 3
Theme: GBV


Police believe they have arrested the serial killer and rapist who has been terrorising residents of eMbalenhle in Mpumalanga for the past four years. The latest victim, a 16 year-old-girl was raped and killed in November 2018. Her body was found tied just a few meters from the suspects’ home. The man in his 30s was arrested over the weekend.

The serial rapist who has been tormenting residents for over four years has finally been arrested. They do not name the perpetrator although this could be because he has not appeared in court. It is interesting to note that the rapist’s victims have not been named either although they are pictured in the visual. GBV is so widespread in South Africa that by not naming the victims, they become another number and are not humanised in the story. Five girls between the ages of six to sixteen years were raped and killed during this period.

The reporting of this case was executed in a poor manner. The SABC report failed to gather information about the cases of the two girls and provided little information on who they were and what happened to them. The report also did not focus on the families of the two girls. The families were not interviewed so we did not get to determine how the case has affected them, how they feel about the perpetrator being arrested and what they hope the outcome of the court ruling will be.

The story is framed in a problematic manner which glorifies the perpetrator and ignores the victims. The reporter describes the perpetrator as a “nice guy”. This is irrelevant to the case and humanises the perpetrator, detracting from his crime. The end of the story is also focused on the perpetrator’s life and where he lived with his mother before he was arrested. Again, this information is irrelevant to his crime and serves to humanise him.
There is not a balance of sources and views. The SABC reporter and the Mpumalanga police spokesperson are the only people interviewed. A number of people who were said to be community members and also relatives of the deceased could have been interviewed. Gathering a wide range of viewpoints would have enriched the story and made it more gender aware.

The narration and the visual presentation of the case did not complement one another, and they don’t not seem to be supporting one another correctly.
The story also could have included local clinics and resources for survivors of rape and gender based violence nationally and specifically in eMbalenhle.



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