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Durban - Ttwo weeks after being savaged by a pack of dogs near her home, a Valley of a Thousand Hills mother of two died on Wednesday.
Suster Mbele, 44, of Kwa-Nywuswa, lost the fight for her life at RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth.
Mbele was attacked by about 20 dogs when she was walking home from a friend’s house at about 2am on October 7. The flesh on her arms and legs had been bitten off.
Her family said she had suffered from a mental condition that caused her to slip away from the house at peculiar hours of the night.
Brother Mbuso Mbele, 45, said on Wednesday that he was devastated when he received the call that his sister had died. He was working the night shift and had received a call to rush home.
“I am not sure but I think she passed on after being operated on. The last time we spoke to her was two weeks ago. She had pipes down her throat since being in the ICU,” Mbuso said.
He explained that Suster had developed breathing problems as a result of the injuries.
The hospital’s spokeswoman, Kamla Chetty, said Mbele had been sedated for the duration of her treatment and had succumbed to injuries related to the dog bites.
Suster’s daughter, Nqobile, 25, was emotional when she told the Daily News about her mother. “She was a sweet person and losing her is tragic,” she said. “We don’t know what we’ll do without her.”
Suster’s son, Mlungisi Ndimande, 22, had been taken away from her at a young age by his father. This had deeply affected her mother, Nqobile said.
“If our brother had stayed with us, I’m sure my mother would still be all right and we would not be in this situation.”
Mbuso said despite police helping in the search for the dogs that attacked his sister, they had not been found.
“Nobody seems to own these dogs, and nobody seems to know them,” he said. “Some say they think that these dogs come from Inchanga because there have been sightings of a pack of dogs from that area travelling together.”
Nikki Vacy-Lyle, an inspector with the Kloof and Highway SPCA, said stray dogs were commonplace in rural and underdeveloped areas where there were no fences to keep them in.
“We have come across a number of feral dogs which usually form small colonies which are very hard to capture,” she said. Vacy-Lyle said there was a similar occurrence in Hammarsdale a few years ago when about 20 dogs turned on residents.
“It’s as if they would pick out the weak because they attacked children and elderly women, and once attacked a drunk man,” she said.
“We experience some problems regarding stray animals, but haven’t received any since May.”