Alleged serial rapist Sfiso Makhubo, who faced 122 charges including rape and kidnapping, has committed suicide in his Johannesburg prison cell.
Police found Makhubo (42) dead on Thursday morning at Johannesburg Medium A Correctional Facility in Naturena, also known as Sun City, after he hanged himself with a blanket.
Makhubo was due to appear at Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court on Thursday for 122 charges that include raping 35 children and two women.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the correctional services department have confirmed that, as a high risk offender, Makhubo was alone in the cell at the time of his death.
"Although he was alone and it appears that he hanged himself, we have opened an investigation," said Ofentse Morwane, spokesperson for Gauteng's correctional services department.
Makhubo, from Thokoza in the East Rand, was arrested in 2011 and charged with 121 counts of kidnapping, rape, attempted murder and assault dating back to 2006. His last court appearance was on July 22 2013 at the South Gauteng High Court. His HIV status was highlighted on his attempted murder charges – he raped his victims knowing his positive status.
Makhubo's youngest rape accuser was just 10 years old.
He apparently hanged himself in the midst of a state investigation to test alleged victims for HIV testing and ensuring court preparation for each victim.
So far, 33 DNA samples have been matched to the alleged rapist. He had spent most of this week at the Krugersdorp Prison so that he was closer to Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital for observation.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw told eNCA: "The case against Sifiso Makhubo took a huge amount of effort to bring to court. My heart goes out to the victims."
The crimes took place in Kathorus, east of Johannesburg, between 2006 and 2011, when Makhubo was arrested.
He was already a convicted rapist at the time of his arrest in 2011.