Three men have been arrested for the murders of three women whose bodies were discovered in and around Naledi, Soweto at the weekend, Gauteng police said on Wednesday.
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange said it was concerning that there appeared to be a trend of women being murdered in the township, spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said in a statement.
De Lange has since appointed a task team to track down the suspected murderers, he said.
Two men were arrested on Tuesday and another was arrested on Wednesday. They were expected to appear at the Protea Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
"It is believed more suspects were involved and police are still following further leads," Dlamini said.
A team of detectives was still investigating the motive for the killings and trying to ascertain whether the killings were linked.
"Two of the victims are suspected to have been friends from KwaZulu-Natal and they might have been attacked by the same people before their bodies were dumped in different locations," he said.
A third body, which was found burnt, had not yet been identified however police were following a lead which suggested that the women may have been reported missing in another part of Soweto, he said.
A fourth body was discovered in the same area on Sunday. The woman had rocks covering her face and her jeans and underwear had been pulled to her ankles. A man who discovered the woman's body told News24 that he discovered her body on Sunday morning while cutting the grass in the veld, and alerted community members who later informed police.
She was believed to be Lerato Moloi, a lesbian from the area. Two men accused of her kidnapping, rape and murder appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. According to TimesLive, one of the accused told the court that they knew that what they had done was "a bad thing". They were expected back in court later this month.
Another day, another Hate Crime. Saddened by the shocking news of the brutal murder of Lerato Tambai Moloi, 27 from Soweto. #StopKillingUs pic.twitter.com/zulMk4vpKw -- FeatherAwardsSA (@FeathersSA) May 15, 2017
De Lange said Gauteng police would work around the clock to make sure that the perpetrators were brought to book.
"It does not matter where they are hiding, criminals should not be allowed to do as they wish and to have a field day in terrorising our communities. They must be isolated by all members of the community," she said. News of the deaths of the three women comes more than two weeks after the burnt body of 22-year-old part-time student Karabo Mokoena was discovered in a veld in Lyndhurst. Her former boyfriend Sandile Kagiso Mantsoe was arrested and charged with her murder.South Africans have taken to social media to express their anger, using the hashtag #MenAreTrash.
Dlamini could not immediately confirm the identities of the three women, however, according to posts on social media the two women believed to be friends were Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe, who were both from Durban.
Friends of the pair have posted pictures of them condemning their deaths and calling for crime against women to be dealt with harshly.
Heartbreaking news again, #BongekaPhungula & #PopiQwabe who went missing on Friday reported to have been found raped & shot dead. #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/lSiYQA647X
-- Mweli Masilela (@mwelimasilela) May 16, 2017
#BongekaPhungula #PopiQwabe my heart is shattered, rest in eternal peace girls ?????? pic.twitter.com/alV2Tt2UjS -- B ??? (@Mpiloe_Cabeka) May 16, 2017
May their soul rest in peace and whoever did this must found and arrested???? #RIPPopiQwabe#RIPBongekaPhungula#SouthAfricanWomenLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/thM2KpYjFq
-- SIBONGILE NTULI???? (@Sibongile_Dust) May 16, 201