Lethiwe Makhanya
3 minute read
5 Jul 2022

Two families attacked and their houses set alight in Dambuza, Pietermaritzburg

Lethiwe Makhanya

After these incidents residents say they are worried about their safety because they do not know who is next.

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Two families were attacked in Dambuza, Pietermaritzburg, and their houses set alight with people inside on Saturday night.

Both incidents happened just after 8 pm. The first incident took place at the Ngcobo homestead and the second incident happened at the Ntombela homestead, about 200 metres away.

It is alleged that four members of the Ngcobo family — a 15-year-old girl, 23-year-old woman, a man whose age is not known and a 51-year-old man — were in their home when an unknown number of men attacked them.

The men started by firing shots at the house, breaking the windows and setting the house alight using a curtain on the front window.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Sifiso Gwala said the girl sustained a gunshot wound to her right arm and was rushed to hospital. The other family members were not injured.

Shortly after the first incident, the same thing happened to the Ntombela family in their three-room house. Shots were fired at their home and their house was set alight with three family members aged 17, 16 and a two-year-old girl as well as a neighbour, who is in her twenties, inside.

“A 17-year-old, Mendy Mkhize, sustained a gunshot wound on the chin and died on her way to hospital. The whole kitchen was burnt and a white van, which was in the yard, was also torched,” he said.

Gwala said the two incidents are connected and are being investigated as one case since they happened in the same way, a few minutes apart and same the modus operandi was used.

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“Police are investigating a case of murder, attempted murder and arson. The motive is still unknown at this stage. No one has been arrested.”

When The Witness visited the Ntombela family on Monday the house was locked, but fire damage was visible. The windows were also broken.

After these incidents residents say they are worried about their safety because they do not know who is next.

A resident who spoke to The Witness and asked not to be named for fear of being victimised, said they are still asking themselves what could have led to these attacks on the families.

Why would you do something like this? Burning a house with a two-year-old inside is so inhumane. If people are being attacked in their owns homes, where are we supposed to feel safe.

“What make the matter worse is that we have seen incidents where people are killed in their own homes but nothing happens,” she said.

Ward 11 councilor Sanele Zuma said he was aware of the incidents, however, he did not have many details about what happened. He said he is planning on visiting the affected families.

“It is very sad and worrying that criminal activities that are going on in the area have led to instability in the area. Residents are worried and they are feeling unsafe in their own houses, which is not right.

“We are planning on having programmes that will assist in bringing some stability and restore hope to our residents and make them feel safe again,” he said.