Durban - The grandchildren of an 82-year-old uMbumbulu man heard his cries as he was hacked and bludgeoned to death with a bush knife, allegedly by someone who suspected him of witchcraft.

Mnikezwa Mthembu is believed to have been asleep in his room in Echobeni reserve around 9.30pm on Sunday when his grandchildren, Smangele and Tuta Mthembu, who were asleep in another room, heard a knock at his door.

The victim’s son, Meyi Mthembu, said that according to the grandchildren, not long after, they heard their grandfather crying in his room. “They said they got concerned and were getting up to see what was happening. They then heard him crying outside, asking why he was being killed,” he said.

The children apparently used the light from their cellphones to try to see where their grandfather was.

“However, they worried that the person who had my father would also kill them. They went back and called a neighbour, who accompanied them to where they heard the cries.”

Mthembu said the children could not see who the attacker was, but asked him why he was killing their grandfather. “His response was that my father was bewitching his family.”

The man then ran away.

Mthembu said that when the children reached their grandfather, he was still breathing but could not talk.

“They put him on a blanket and carried him back to the house, where he died soon after. When the news reached us, we were in shock at who would want to kill such an old man so brutally.”


Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that uMbumbulu police were investigating a case of murder.

Zwane was unable to confirm on Monday night that an arrest had been made. - Daily News