Instead of joining the thousands of pupils who returned to school yesterday, a seven-year-old boy was left traumatised after watching a mob burn his grandparents to death at Lindelani, near Ntuzuma, early on Wednesday.
Elsa Dubazane, and Rafael Zukhulu, both 63, were accused of practising witchcraft.
According to Dubazane’s tenant Simphiwe Dlamini, the mob arrived at about 12.30am yesterday.
“I was asleep and my boyfriend woke me up after he heard loud screams,” she said.
“We went outside and saw that the granny’s house had caught fire and a mob was standing outside.”
Dlamini said the mob had snatched the boy from the burning house, but left his grandparents inside.
“The grandfather managed to escape, but they chased and caught him on the road. The mob then set a tyre alight and hung it around his neck while his grandson watched.”
She said the boy had yelled and cried out repeatedly, but the mob did nothing as Duba-zane remained inside the burning house, probably fearing that the mob would kill her if she got out.
Ward councillor Mbuyiselwa Sibiya said he received a call about the incident at 1.30am and called 10111 and an officer who lives in the area.
However, the officer feared for his life and would not go to the scene.
“I then called 10111 again and told the police to rush to the scene with firemen.”
Sibiya said the police arrived to find the bedroom and kitchen burnt to ashes.
The boy was taken away by the police.
On Friday, Dubazane and Zukhulu were attacked and assaulted by a mob which accused them of killing their granddaughter and burying her in their yard.
The couple told The Mercury at the time how a mob, wielding axes, had ransacked and searched the house, looking for a baboon which they alleged the family used for witchcraft.
Their granddaughter, Zakude Shozi, 16, died at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Phoe-nix on January 3.
Dubazane had told the crowd that the girl had been buried, and showed them the death certificate and a receipt from a funeral parlour.
However, the community was outraged that they had not seen a funeral and assaulted her nevertheless.
Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said Dubazane’s body was found in her bedroom, while Zukhulu was found on the road.
The police were investigating two cases of murder and one of arson, but no arrests had been made.
Sazi Mhlongo, chairman of Traditional Healers in KZN, was outraged by the incident.
“This irritates me because people are killed without any proof or evidence that they practised witchcraft,” he said.
“The mob that committed these crimes should be arrested.”
He said people could have started rumours about the family because of jealousy over their large compound.