A mother and four of her children died in an apparent murder-suicide in the North West following an argument.
The 38-year-old mother and four sons, aged two months to 15 years, were found dead in their home in Vaalbank, outside Coligny, on Sunday morning.
Her husband, 35, and two other sons, aged eight and 17, survived and are in hospital.
North West police spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said the 17-year-old boy was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit.
Myburgh said it is believed the parents argued on Saturday night. Then, after the family went to bed, the mother allegedly drank poison and threw pesticide all over the house.
“Toxicology tests are still going to be done, but the poison found on the scene is in a pellet form. It is believed that it is a pesticide that emits a poisonous gas when it gets in contact with water. She threw the pesticide in the house and they inhaled the fumes in their sleep,” Myburgh said.
Police are investigating four cases of murder.
Investigations into the matter are continuing, and postmortems will confirm the cause of death.
The North West acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Dintletse Molefe, said she was shocked by the deaths and encouraged community members to seek professional intervention to resolve their differences.