‘I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you’
Her heartfelt goodbye letter was read out during their funeral in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.
Sphesihle, 10, Khwezi, 6, and Kuhlekonke Mpungose, 4, were killed on Tuesday last week.
Their father, S’bu Mpungose, has been charged with their murders and that of his 16-year-old stepdaughter Ayakha Jiyane.
The bodies of Siphesihle, Khwezi and Kuhlekonke, still dressed in their school uniforms, were found in their home in Wyebank. Ayakha’s body was found in a bush in New Germany. All four had been hanged.
S’bu Mpungose appeared in court on Friday.
The children were laid to rest yesterday.
Premier Sihle Zikalala, Finance MEC Ravi Pillay and Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza as well as ANC and IFP MPLs were among the mourners.
Xoli, in her letter, read out by her sister, Slindile Mulaudzi, addressed each of her children by name and nickname, telling them how much she loved them.
Mulaudzi said she was struggling to get the image of how they were murdered out of her mind.
Zamokwakhe Mpungose, a close relative of S’bu, told mourners: “We have no contact with that person (S’bu) and we will never have contact with that person.”
He also apologised to the Jiyane family (Ayakha’s paternal family).
ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini called for harsh action, including chemical castration, to be taken against men who raped and murdered.
The ANCWL has also proposed that women should stay away from work today as a form of protest.
“Men have a problem, it is time they should tell us what their problem is,” Dlamini told the mourners.
“We are not safe in the street, our children are being raped and all this is ignored as if nothing has happened.
She told the media that the current situation in the country was that South Africa was at war against women.
“We are calling on the government to declare a state of emergency.”
Dlamini said those who had been convicted of crimes against women and children should be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and should be confined to maximum security prisons.
“We have also opened up a debate on chemical castration,” she said.
Dlamini said it was also important for law-enforcement agencies to be trained and sensitised to the issues of violence against women to create a new model of working that could have an impact in dealing with the scourge.
“For now we think that everything is interpreted in a patriarchal misogynistic manner,” she said.
Zikalala also called for the strengthening of the law, saying there should be no bail and there should be life imprisonment for all those convicted of rape or murder.