Durban — An Amanzimtoti family in Durban says it suspects that witchcraft accusations may have been the reason behind the murder of four of their family members in the Mfume area on Monday morning.
According to a family member who survived, the victims were sleeping in separate rooms in the house when a group of five armed men broke in and opened fire at Bhekisizwe Ngidi, 64 (father), Nomathemba Ngidi, 60 (wife), Thabani Ngidi, 33 (son) Sphesihle Maphumulo, 19 (grandson) and a 19 year- old female friend.
The female friend from the neighbourhood (whose name is withheld for safety reasons) was shot in the legs and is receiving medical attention at a hospital.
Andile Ngiba, 23, a son who survived the shooting, said he was asleep in an outside building when the incident happened.
“When the attackers stormed into our home at 3am I heard a voice calling for help. I realised that we were being attacked. I tried to peep through the window to see who the attackers were but could not see because it was too dark. It was unclear because they removed exterior lights before attacking.
“I realised that sneaking out would be my only way to survive while they were still focusing on the other room. This is not the first incident and I suspect that it’s the people who were accusing my mother of practising witchcraft,” he said.
When the Daily News visited the area, community members of Mfume were in a state of shock and some said they were still trying to come to terms with the attack on the Ngiba family.
One of the community members, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, said: “We were together having fun at a ceremony held in the neighbourhood yesterday (Sunday). I was with all of them and I am disturbed and in disbelief.”
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said the Amanzimtoti police have launched a manhunt for the suspects linked to the killing.
He said the motive for the shooting has not been established as yet, although a family-related feud could not be ruled out. Netshiunda said this was the second incident in the same household in the space of a year. Last year, the mother of the house was shot, and the matter is still under investigation.
“Police are appealing to anyone who might have knowledge regarding the whereabouts of the suspects or information that can assist in the investigation to contact the Amanzimtoti police or call the crime stop number 08600 10111 or alert the police via the MySAPS,” Netshiunda said.
KZN Social Development spokesperson Mhlaba Memela condemned the incident and called on law enforcement agencies to track down the killers to ensure they pay for their sins.
“Acting Social Development MEC Nomagugu Simelane has dispatched a team of social workers to provide psycho-social support to the family members and all those who survived. She further called on community members who might have information about this incident to ensure that they share it with police in order to solve these murder cases,” Memela said.
Blessed Gwala, IFP KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson for community safety and liaison, called upon the authorities to bring an end to the “reign of terror” being caused by gun-toting criminals who threaten people on a daily basis with illegal guns.
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