File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Call for police task force to stop slaughter in Richards Bay

By STAFF REPORTERS Time of article published May 13, 2019

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DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary de Haas has called on the national police task force to intervene in the Richards Bay area after three people, including a child, were shot dead and their bodies set alight on Friday night.

Lungani Biyela, 24, Bheki Ntuli, 35, and 2-year-old Angel Ncube were killed and torched in their home in the Mpembeni area near Esikhaleni in Richards Bay.

The third adult in the home escaped with multiple gunshot wounds while carrying her six-week-old baby. Provincial police have withheld her identity for her protection as she recovers.

The incident happened at about 8pm on Friday. Police are now searching for an unknown male who allegedly stormed the house and fired at the occupants.

Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, a relative who did not want to be named said the surviving woman was extremely traumatised.

“She was shot and she’s lucky to be alive. She used the window to escape after a man walked into the house. She’s not well at this stage, about what happened,” said the relative.

De Haas said the latest incident in Mpembeni was “a consequence of a legacy of extremely poor provincial police management in detective services and crime intelligence”.

Khaya Mncube, who was killed in September last year, was a member of the family massacred on Friday.

The community have been rocked with a number of killings, believed to be linked to mining corruption and tensions over land.

Ward councillor Jabu Hadebe said the killings had instilled fear in the community. “This is the first time that the killers burnt the house, but the killings have been a norm in this area.”

De Haas said that since mining had started in the area, there had been a number of killings.

“There are extremely serious and widespread allegations of gross corruption in the Traditional Authority as well as mining tender corruption,” she said.

She said that following complaints to the national police commissioner, a task team reporting to the cluster commander in the King Cetshwayo region (Empangeni) was established, “but that team still lacks adequate resources”.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said three counts of murder and attempted murder had been opened at Esikhaleni police station.


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