Durban — A KwaZulu-Natal family have been left fearing for their lives after the murder of their 16-year-old daughter, who was shot dead in KwaDukuza on Thursday while walking home from school.
Rethabile Mashile, from Shombela in KwaDukuza, was gunned down by an unknown suspect on a public road.
Rethabile’s aunt, Thokozani Zakwe, said on her way home from work on Thursday afternoon, she received a call from a neighbour telling her to hurry because Rethabile had been shot.
People who witnessed the shooting told her that Rethabile had been walking with her friends when the unknown suspect pointed a gun at her, fired a shot from behind, and then ran across the school premises, she said.
“After receiving the call, I rushed to the scene. By the time I got there Rethabile’s body was already wrapped in a sheet. An eyewitness outside the school told us the suspect was wearing a hat, waiting around the school on Thursday and thought he was just passing by.”
Zakwe said Rethabile had come to live with her family last year after her mother had been murdered in Inanda.
“Rumours in the community have been that she was killed because she was a witness to her mother’s death.
“This is not the case, because Rethabile was not with her mother at that time. As a family we do not know the reason behind her murder.”
Zakwe said Rethabile’s murder had left the family in shock and living in fear, since they did not know the motive for the killing.
She said Rethabile “would wake up in the morning and make my bed because I leave early for work, and this Wednesday, April 26, she would have turned 17. We share a birthday, which explains why we were very close.
“She slept next to me every day, that I will miss the most. Whoever did this has caused me unbearable pain.”
Zakwe said the family had begun with funeral arrangements but needed financial assistance because she worked as a domestic worker and did not have enough money to cover the funeral costs.
Ward 14 councillor Njabulo Mtambo said the rise in crime in the community was a big concern, and community leaders were doing their utmost to fight it.
“It very sad, especially since it was a young female pupil (who was killed). There seems to be a rise in gun violence and gender-based violence in the area.
“I called a meeting with community leaders on Saturday to try to come up with safety measures o that it will not be easy for culprits to commit crimes.”
Mtambo hoped police would find out whether the killing of Rethabile’s mother in November last year was the motive for her daughter’s murder.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.