Consumers can expect the cost of milk to rise, say farmers.

KwaZulu-Natal - The eight Pomeroy men who were shot and killed, while they had gone to reclaim stolen cattle, would also be honoured in the national period of mourning.

The men had been unarmed and were robbed of their cellphones, wallets and shoes while they lay lifeless.

They were members of a community-based anti-stock theft organisation called Isikebhe and had been taken by a man suspected of stealing cattle to Nkunzini where he said the stolen cattle were hidden.

According to a member of Isikebhe, who did not want to be named at the time because he feared for his life, the men had learnt of the suspect and had gone to where he lived in Mthaleni.

“He admitted to stealing the cattle and agreed to show us where the cattle were being kept,” he said.

“I was not there when the shooting happened, but those who managed to flee told me that they saw the cattle, and when they began herding them out of the bushy area, shots were fired,” he said.

He said the unarmed men were chased, caught and shot at close range and thereafter robbed.

The induna of Mthaleni, Mbingelelwa Shabalala, said four of the victims were from Mthaleni, two from Sfuleni and one from Gxushaneni near Msinga.

The death toll – initially reported to be seven – had risen to eight after the discovery of another body at the weekend, said Kwanele Ncalane, the spokesman for the provincial Department of Community Safety and Liaison.

It is not known where the eight victim was from.

Two of the victims were siblings. The family of Phindela and Japhata Langa said cattle theft in the area had spiralled out of control over the years.

“Only God knows what the future holds,” said the siblings’ nephew Dennis Langa.

He said he appreciated the support of the President Jacob Zuma, but that the ordeal was more difficult to bear because there had been no arrests.

“We are surviving but would feel better if the people who did this are arrested. But I am glad that they are being remembered.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge confirmed that no arrests had been made. - Daily News