The murder was carried out, allegedly by teenage boys at the child and youth care centre, while some workers at Excelsior held a placard demonstration for better working conditions outside the premises.
The head of the provincial Department of Social Development, Nokuthula Khanyile, has told the family that an internal investigation would “leave no stone unturned” in finding out what had happened.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Meshack Ntshangase, 40, was stabbed multiple times by four minors on Monday.
They then fled and are still on the run.
The facility accommodates 38 boys, all awaiting trial, between the ages of 13 and 17.
Zithulele Ntshangase said his brother was not part of Tuesday’s protest. He said his brother lived by the rules and was strict and straightforward, which could have led to his death.
The family were still coming to grips with his murder as they knew that the boys at Excelsior had a good working relationship with him.
When Zithulele got to the scene he was told that his brother had been stabbed twice. But in the mortuary, he learned a different story.
Zithulele said his brother had some deep lacerations on his neck and stab wounds on his stomach.
The father-of-two was found dead in the facility with some saying he was found in the corridor, while others reported that it was in the office and yet another in the toilets.
Police had not responded to the question of exactly where he was found.
“His laptop, keys to his car and wallet were taken. The boys fled from the premises,” Zithulele said as a tow truck took his brother’s car from the parking lot.
Ntshangase, of Bulwer in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, lived at Excelsior in a flat. He had been working there since 1994 and was promoted to supervisor.
“On his day off, when there were problems, he was called out."
“He helped everyone and this is the thanks he gets."
“He was a father to all of them. He loved his work. We are asking police to leave no stone unturned so that justice may prevail."
“Somebody provoked them to do this cowardly act. Why was the crime scene neglected? Why could the strike not end? Are they so inhumane?” Zithulele asked.
On Tuesday about 15 striking staff members allegedly blocked one of the entrance gates with green refuse bins, the bark of a tree and a slab of concrete.
Ncumisa Ndelu, spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, alleged that workers had blocked the entrance when an ambulance arrived to treat Ntshangase.
However the workers denied this saying the ambulance came late and used a second entrance gate to get on to the premises on Monday.
Workers said their list of demands included a danger allowance because they were working with criminals.
They said the boys arrived at Excelsior in handcuffs but they were removed and they were then free to do as they pleased.
Workers added that the boys’ ages were not assessed properly with the majority being older than they appeared.
One worker said he had been stabbed with a broken piece of glass wrapped inside a plastic packet by one of the juveniles in 2008.
Another worker claimed that he had been locked inside the staff room.
They said that the boys’ aim was to escape and it proved a daunting task for some 30 caregivers to look after them.
None of the workers wanted to be named as they feared being victimised.
The Acting MEC for Social Development, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, along with the head of department, visited Ntshangase’s family to offer their condolences on Tuesday afternoon.
The head of department had ordered an urgent internal investigation into the murder on hearing about the tragedy, vowing to work with the police to ensure that those responsible were brought to justice.
Gwala said the motive for the killing was unknown.
The facility is a short-term residential facility and provides an intervention programme which ensures the appropriate physical, behavioural and emotional development of young people who are awaiting trial.
The centre provides life skills training and runs spiritual classes and crime prevention programmes.