This followed reports that Kwanele Jacobs, Luvuyo Manyathela and Kwanele Ntyontyo were allegedly affiliated to the Villa Nova gang in KTC and had been attacked on Thursday at the NY5 cemetery by an unknown group from the neighbouring Barcelona informal settlement.
Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said robbery could not be ruled out as a motive.
Councillor Khaya Yozi said it emerged the teenagers were innocent, following a meeting between councillors, street committees, investigators and other community safety groups on Monday. He said the families were owed an apology.
“The official report from the police is that this is pure thuggery and not related to gangsterism,” said Yozi.
Yozi said the three boys were passing the cemetery together when they were confronted by two male adults who accused them of committing a robbery.
“A man went as far as searching their school bags but still didn’t believe they were innocent. The man attacked the pupils who fought back.
"Manyathela and Jacobs succumbed to the wounds and at the graveyard while Ntyontyo died at KTC Day Hospital.
“The situation was blown out of proportion and reported wrongly.”
Anyone with information about the incident can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 086 001 0111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.