VIDEOS: ‘Witchcraft’ family massacred in their sleep

Dead: Andile Mncwabe (1) was among those murdered.

THE two men arrested in connection with the mass murder of the Mncwabe family in Mabaleni near Mtwalume allegedly accused the family members of practising witchcraft.

Seven family members were hacked to death, while one was burned alive in a rondavel. Most of the members of the family were asleep in one house and another in the adjacent hut when a group of men entered their yard. “The suspects hacked the seven victims to death with sharp objects inside the house and proceeded to the hut where they brutally murdered a 70-year-old man by setting the hut alight,” said Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

“The dead include four women aged 15, 30, 32 and 60 years, and three little boys – two one-year-olds and a three-year-old. One survivor was taken to hospital with severe head injuries,” said Brig Mulaudzi.

He added that the suspects allegedly accused the family members of practising witchcraft. The arrested men were found in possession of blood-stained clothes and shoes belonging to the family. A jacket, which was worn by one of the suspects, was found shoved inside a pit toilet.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kgomotso Phahlane, acting national commissioner of the South African Police, wished the survivor a speedy recovery and vowed that the police would not rest until all suspects were brought to book.

“We convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and also assure them that we will dig deep in our quest to bring justice,” said Lt-Gen Phahlane. She thanked officers from the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Organised Crime Unit, K9 Unit, Public Order Policing (POP) and the forensic team from the Ugu SAPS Cluster for gathering all the evidence which led to the arrest of the suspects.

Umzumbe mayor Sidney Gumede said they are extremely saddened by what happened. “As the municipality we will do all we can to assist the family with the funeral arrangements,” said Mr Gumede.

Ward councillor Phiwokuhle Zamisa said the entire community is in shock. “Why would someone do this to this family. Such incidents hurt the families and leave bad scars in the entire area,” said Mr Zamisa.

The KwaZulu-Natal Social Development Department expressed its shock over the killing. The department has dispatched six social workers and their supervisor to the Mabaleni area. The social workers will provide assistance to survivors of the brutal attack and the community.

Relative, Bazo Mbhele, said it is a very difficult time for the family. “I came to check on my aunt and I found them all dead. I could see that these acts were carried out by the men using bush knives,” said Ms Mbhele.

The MEC for Social Development, Weziwe Thusi and her health counterpart Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, will visit the Mncwabe family today (Thursday).

The two men, aged 26 and 28 years will appear before the Turton Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Friday, October 23. They face charges of murder.

Sugan Naidoo

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