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Father tells of finding son’s bullet-ridden body in uMlazi mass murder scene

The shack where six men where shot and killed in uMlazi on Monday. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

The shack where six men where shot and killed in uMlazi on Monday. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 16, 2022


DURBAN - An uMlazi father described how he found his son’s bullet-ridden body among three others inside an informal house where six people were shot dead on Monday.

Six men, between the ages of 22 and 25, were seated in the house in an informal settlement in N Section when they were attacked by seven men carrying pistols, said police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker.

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The six occupants were killed in the attack. Two men were found injured near the scene and taken to hospital.

Sanele Shabalala, 27 was one of the six people who were shot and killed in uMlazi. | Supplied

Sanele Shabalala, 27, was one of the deceased. His father, Zamukulunga Radebe, said he heard the gunshots when he arrived home from a shopping complex but did not realise people were being shot near a railway line close to his home.

Radebe said the gunshots rang out for about 20 minutes. Then, he heard screaming and saw people rushing to one of the houses.

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“When I arrived at the scene, some people told me my son was also inside but I did not believe them until I got inside the shack. I saw him lying dead in a pool of blood. Bodies were on top of each other and four of them were already dead, while the fifth one was still alive. Two were found dead outside the shack,” said Radebe.

Residents of the N Section informal settlement suspected the killings were related to drug dealing. They said about 10 people were in the shack at the time of the shooting.

Although Radebe said he had not seen his son taking drugs, he did not deny that it was a common practice among people of his son’s age.

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When the Daily News visited the area on Tuesday, people were talking about the murders.

Six people were shot dead in uMlazi, south of Durban. Four of them were found dead inside this bloodstained informal house. | Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Several residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was a lot of suspicious activity taking place inside the shack. They believed the shack was being used as a drug den and that many of the youth frequented the place. None of the residents knew who owned the shack.

A resident, who also did not want to be named, described how she was almost struck by stray bullets while walking to the communal toilets. She said she dived to the ground when she heard the shots, adding that bullets had whizzed past her.

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“The gun sound was deafening. I quickly locked myself up in my neighbour’s shack until the shooting ended. We did not know the deceased,” said the resident.

Naicker said detectives from the Provincial Task Team had taken over the investigation and had launched a manhunt for the killers. Police are investigating six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

“The information received by police at the scene indicated that the house was being used as a drug den but no one wanted to come forward with evidence.”

In September 2021, 11 people were killed in mass shootings in Umlazi. In the first incident, six people were shot and killed at U Section, one of them a teenager. During the same week, five people were shot dead in W section, while three others sustained serious injuries.

Daily News