Lethiwe Makhanya
Journalist
4 minute read
29 Jun 2022
15:08

Update: Triple murder stuns Pietermaritzburg

Lethiwe Makhanya

We have never seen such cruelty.

We have never seen such cruelty.

These are the words of angry Sobantu, Pietermaritzburg residents, after two women and a child were strangled to death.

A 65-year-old grandmother was murdered while her 46-year-old daughter and granddaughter (eight) were allegedly raped and killed.

They were all strangled.

The incident took place on Monday.

The bodies of the family members were discovered on Monday night just after 8 pm by a relative who wanted to prepare food at their home.

When he entered the house, he noticed that it was very quiet and that the bedroom door was latched from the outside.

He then unlocked the door and found the child lying on her back in the bedroom; her mother was lying on her back on the bed and the grandmother was also lying on her back, next to the bed with blood all over her face.

A family member who spoke to The Witness said they believe that the family was killed in the morning and their bodies were only discovered at night.

“We are devastated. This is very painful not only for us as a family but also for the community as a whole … It was just horrific.

“We want the law to take its course. We want to see this person arrested and not come out of jail because he is a danger to the community,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said the three family members were found with bruises and strangulation marks on their necks.

She said a 29-year-old man was arrested after the police questioned people in the area and the information received led them to the alleged killer’s house. He was allegedly the last person seen with the family.

“Police proceeded to the man’s residence with the hope of getting more information to assist with the investigation. They were stunned to find the man in bloodstained clothes.

“He failed to provide police with a satisfactory response for the bloodstains on his clothes. He was arrested and charged with three counts of murder and two counts of rape. He will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court soon,” she said.

It is believed that the man was also wanted for other cases which include murder and kidnapping; however, police have not confirmed this.

Ward councillor Sandile Dlamini said they have never seen such cruelty in the area.

“This is [the most] brutal and painful incident that we have [ever] experienced in Sobantu. How can you rape and strangle women to death — people who cannot defend themselves?

“We are the ones who are supposed to protect them.

“What is very strange is that no one heard anything, not even neighbours. This shows that this person [was practised in] doing this and he made sure that no one heard anything,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini said the incident has angered the community and they want justice.

“You should have seen how they approached the police van when they heard that the suspect was [inside]. They wanted to take him out but he was not inside at that time. The community is heartbroken. What angers them more is that the people who come to the area and commit crimes are not from the area but outside,” he said.

A resident who asked not to be named said they will not rest until justice is served

“We are very angry. This means that we are no longer safe in our own homes. What did these people do to deserve such cruelty? The person who did this must pay,” she said.

Social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza described the attack as barbaric and abhorrible.

She said such acts show that there are people in our society who have lost their moral compass and cannot even see what is wrong with such acts.

“As a nation we cannot continue like this where women and children are murdered daily. We all have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable.

“As communities, we all need to ensure that we fight the scourge of gender-based violence,” she said.

She added that communities should stand together to isolate those involved in child abuse, rape and gender-based violence.

“We call on all sectors of society to join forces with the government to fight social ills and build solid foundations in which women and children are free and safe.”