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A love triangle exploded into a night of bloodshed that left one man and his girlfriend dead and his second lover clinging to life.
Twenty-four-year-old Mabhuti Mlinganiso died in a shootout with police on Sunday morning.
His death ended a night of violence that began when his teen lover discovered another girl at his house.
Ondela Mvula was in a party mood on Saturday night, she had turned 18 on Thursday and was planning to celebrate on Saturday night.
The bubbly teenager decided to pay her man, Mlinganiso, a surprise visit but instead she found he had gone out and there was a strange female in the house.
Ondela apparently demanded 17-year-old Phumla Lumkwana open the door of the Sharpville Road, Samora Machel, house but she refused.
The frightened Phumla is then believed to have called Mlinganiso on his cellphone from the house.
Cops say he confronted Ondela in Harry Gwala Street shortly after she left his home.
During a heated argument, Mlinganiso shot Ondela, his girlfriend of four years, in the face at point-blank range.
Ondela’s aunt Nomahlubi Mvula, 38, says around 1am, she received a call to say her niece had been injured.
“When we got to the scene she was already dead,” she says.
The aunt says the last time they saw her alive, she had returned from escorting her netball coach to buy some items for her birthday bash and she was heading out to find her friends.
“She left and that was the last time she was seen alive,” says Nomahlubi.
But while they stood grieving around Ondela’s body, Mlinganiso fled home to where Phumla was waiting.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini tells the Daily Voice that when cops arrived at his home, Mlinganiso started shooting at them.
“The police were informed of a murder that had happened on Saturday and they found out where the suspect was,” says Dlamini.
“When the officers went to the house to look for him, the suspect opened fire at them.
“Screams were heard inside the house and then police broke down the door and found the suspect on the floor with his gun and a woman identified as his girlfriend was shot but still alive.
“She told the police he shot her and then shot himself, but the IPID will investigate if he killed himself or it was a bullet from the police that led to his death.”
Dlamini says a post-mortem will be performed.
Phumla was rushed to hospital after she had been shot seven times.
Her mother Ntombikayise Gada, 37, says she was shot in the head, hand, breast and legs.
“She couldn’t talk and she had a pipe in her mouth,” says Ntombikayise.
“And we are also trying to piece the puzzle together (of what happened).
“I knew Mabhuti and he was a nice man but he used to abuse her and I would step in to help my daughter but he went too far this time.
“But still we have to know who shot her because there was a shootout (with police).”
Nomahlubi tells the Daily Voice hearing that Mlinganiso is dead is the only good news coming from the incident.
“I am happy he is dead because if he was still alive, he would have been arrested and then freed for us to see him every day when our daughter is never coming back.”
*This article was published in the Daily Voice