Durban - A fight over wages is thought to have led to the massacre of a woman and five of her young children just over a year ago.
This came to light after the arrest of a 25-year-old suspect on Friday. He had worked for the family at the time of the murders.
The man, a distant relative of the slain family, had been hiding in Lesotho for a year.
He was arrested at a friend’s house in the Eastern Cape early on Friday.
He had initially denied all knowledge of the massacre, but later made a confession to police, an investigator said.
The man had worked as a cleaner and gardener for the family.
Nobuhle Marcellinah Leneha, 38, had been shot at close range through the head several times and the children, aged 3 to 14, had been stabbed numerous times.
Their bodies were found in the bathroom of their Mzinyathi, Inanda, home on December 28, 2012.
A sixth child, a boy now aged 2, survived the massacre and was found with the bodies three days later, tied to his mother’s skirt.
The suspect’s arrest came after a joint operation over two days by Inanda SAPS, led by Colonel Bheki Khumalo, and Magma Investigations.
Magma Investigations’ chief executive, Shaheen Suleiman, said on Sunday that a Bobore family member had approached him in December and asked that he help the police with the investigations.
He said the suspect had been tracked to Lesotho and they waited for him to cross the border back into the country.
Suleiman said: “Working with the victim’s family members (in Pietermaritzburg) we established he was coming to Matatiele on Friday to attend a friend’s function at the weekend.”
Suleiman said they were tipped off at about 3am that the suspect had arrived at the house.
They raided the house and found the suspect sleeping in one of the rooms.
“He offered no resistance, but denied all knowledge of the massacre until he broke down and made a confession to police.”
Suleiman said the suspect had said that he and Nobuhle Leneha had fought over money.
“He said he was not getting enough money. The argument escalated and he shot her three or four times.”
It was at that point that the children ran into the room and witnessed the man standing by their mother’s body, Suleiman said.
“He (allegedly) said that he had no more bullets but was worried the children would make a statement (to the police) so he locked them in the bathroom.”
The suspect allegedly then fetched a knife from the kitchen and stabbed them, said Suleiman
Leneha’s 1-year-old son’s life was spared because he was too young to give a statement, Suleiman said.
The gruesome discovery was made three days later after Leneha’s husband, Leonard Bobore, 38, had become increasingly worried that his calls to his wife’s cellphone had gone unanswered.
Bobore, who was running a tuck shop in Clare Estate, asked a family member to go to his home and check on his family.
The family member reported back to say the house was locked up and there was no one at home.
Bobore went to the home on December 30, 2012, where he made the horrible discovery of his slain family.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said members of Crime Intelligence were able to detect the suspect’s presence when he returned to the country to visit relatives in Matatiele.
“It is alleged that he robbed the Leneha family, who are his relatives, and killed them to cover up the robbery.”
The man is expected to appear in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court on Monday.