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Call for urgent intervention after 5 killed in uMlazi

Yellow and black crime scene tape

A manhunt was under way for suspects who shot and killed five people and injured another person.

Published Nov 14, 2023


The proliferation of firearms has been seen as one of the main factors behind the mass shootings in KwaZulu-Natal.

This is according to a crime expert who was commenting after a mass shooting in uMlazi. Police are investigating the murders of five people who were killed in three houses in the Uganda informal settlement in uMlazi on Sunday night.

Police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda, said a manhunt was under way for suspects who shot and killed five people and injured another person.

When police arrived at the first house, Netshiunda said police discovered the bodies of a 32-year-old man and a woman, believed to be in her 30s, who was yet to be identified.

“At the second house, police found two bodies of women aged 30 and 38 years old, as well as a body of a 24-year-old man,” he said.

Netshiunda said all the victims had multiple gunshot wounds and were pronounced dead at the scene.

He said a 32-year-old man was discovered at the third house with multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to hospital.

Police said the motive for the shootings had not yet been established.

The deceased from one property were identified by a relative as tuckshop owner Nonhlenelo Golimbiza, her sister Nandipha Golimbiza and customer Nkosinathi Maranjana.

According to the Golimbiza siblings’ uncle, Tsepo Mchunu, the suspects first went to the tuckshop located in the settlement. He said the suspects forced the sisters to lie down at gunpoint and when Maranjana entered the tuckshop he was also forced to lie down. Mchunu said the three were then killed.

The mass shooting comes after two shootings last month. Five people were shot dead in Amaoti, Inanda while seven people were shot execution-style under a bridge in KwaMashu.

Financial and organised crime investigator from IRS Forensic Investigations South Africa, Chad Thomas, said the main reasons for mass shootings in the province was the easy proliferation of weapons.

He said some of the weapons were from leftover arms caches from the unrest in the early 1990s, while others were obtained through thefts from law-enforcement authorities.

“KZN has a culture of violence and it has become very easy to settle scores through murder for hire,” said Thomas, adding that we were living at a time where accountability was at a low and perpetrators believed that there would be no consequences for their actions.

He said there were too few qualified detectives in SAPS and those that were capable investigators have far too many dockets, while there were also too few prosecutors, courtrooms, court days and presiding officers.

“We are in the eye of a perfect crime storm and need to urgently address the inadequacies of the criminal justice system brought about as a result of capacity and resource issues directly linked to budgets not being spent on the areas needing urgent attention, political appointees, sacred cows that can’t or won’t be prosecuted, and a police and prosecutorial service with members who are despondent as a result of some if not all of the aforementioned reasons,” said Thomas.

KZN Transport, Community Safety, and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka condemned the murders.

“We urge members of the community to work with law enforcement and provide intelligence information to assist with investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of crime,” Hlomuka added.

He said the department, law-enforcement agencies, and community crime-fighting structures were rolling out programmes targeting the proliferation of illegal firearms as well as ammunition.

“We are also working on strategies to strengthen collaborative crime prevention interventions at all districts. Indeed, we are working towards the realisation of a safer and secure province,” he said.

Independent researcher on policing and consultant to the Institute for Security Studies, David Bruce, told The Mercury earlier this year that since 2020/21 the murder rate in KwaZulu-Natal had escalated dramatically.

At the time of the report he said KZN was the province with the second highest per capita murder rate in the country and also the province with the most murders.

The Mercury