Wyebank dad arrested for kids’ murders
The 44-year-old man, who has since been arrested, has been charged with the murders of the couple’s three children, aged between 4 and 10, and his wife’s eldest daughter, aged 17.
The man, who cannot be named as he has not yet appeared in court, was arrested in KwaDabeka yesterday. He is expected to appear in court soon.
According to a neighbour, the children’s mother had a bad feeling that something was not right at home.
“She phoned me and asked me if the children were at home. I told her that I had seen her husband with the children at the house. I told her he had fetched them from school. It was unusual as she was a teacher and she would normally fetch the children,” Ally Naidoo said.
Naidoo said she then saw the mother arrive at home shortly thereafter with the police.
“This was when she found her children. They had been hanged inside the rooms, with belts from their gowns,” an emotional Naidoo said. She added that she loved the children, Kuhlekonke, 4, Khwezi, 6, Siphesihle, 10, and Ayakha, 17, like they were her own.
“They were very kind and well mannered. The smallest would often stand by the fence and I would give him sweets and chips. He would joke that I must stop talking in Zulu to him because he was learning English,” Naidoo said. Neighbours alleged that after killing the three, the accused went to fetch his wife’s eldest daughter, who was not his biological child, from school. The neighbour said the teenager was found hanged in the bushes with her school tie.
When The Mercury visited the mother’s family home in Copesville, outside Pietermaritzburg yesterday, the mother was inconsolable. She sobbed as relatives and family friends gathered around her and could not speak to the media. Family spokesperson Thandekile Mlaba said they were relieved that police had arrested the man.
She said the woman had recently confided in her family about her plans to divorce her husband.
The MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza visited the mother yesterday and called for society to speak out about gender-based violence.
“Let us educate our children. We need to educate our boy children on how they should treat and protect girls. It is devastating that our girls are suffering at the hands of loved ones and by people who they expect to protect them,” Khoza said.
The KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, has condemned the incident. He said statistics revealed that since the beginning of this year, at least 30 women had been killed in violent attacks in the province.
Wits expert on gender-based violence, Dr Antje Schuhmann, said the mindset of men needed to change.
“There is a historic legacy to patriarchy, using religious and certain practices to legitimise gender-based violence. We need to educate boys at an early age how to treat girls. We need to ask what enables people to be violent. We need to look at the plethora of complex violence which includes the gang culture in the country,” she said.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele, said four counts of murder had been opened at the Pinetown police station.