Durban - An Umlazi security guard fatally assaulted his girlfriend with a pick axe on the eve of Valentine’s Day before hanging himself, shocked relatives and neighbours said on Thursday.
They said they would not have heard 25-year-old Philisiwe Duma’s cries for help because loud music was being played as she was being killed. Duma, who worked at a pie shop, had apparently recently left the home she shared with Sizwe Shange.
Xolani Shange said it appeared his 31-year-old younger brother had attacked Duma with a pick axe. He said the woman was hit on her face, arm and torso.
The couple have a seven-year-old daughter who lives with family in uMzinto. They had been together for 13 years and lived in an RDP house in uMlazi.
Duma’s cousin, Khumbulani Dube, 29, said he was aware of the couple’s “up and down” relationship, but did not know what the tensions were between the two.
“No one was expecting that it would end like this,” a shocked Dube told the Daily News.
“She was like a sister to me after she was orphaned… my father was responsible for her.”
Shange’s aunt, Nokuthula Shange, said this was the second tragedy of a similar nature to hit the family.
Nokuthula, who was in tears as she watched the bodies being carried out of the two-room house, said Shange’s older brother had also killed himself after he had beaten his girlfriend to death in KwaNdengezi four years ago.
Neighbour, Nozipho Ngcobo, said Duma had recently packed her belongings and left the house to stay with relatives elsewhere in uMlazi. She said she had noticed the couple had had problems in their relationship.
“She came to my house to collect her mail a couple of days ago and told me again that she’s not going back to him,” said Ngcobo. “I’m not sure how she ended up at the house again.”
Ngcobo, who lives about 50m from the murder scene, said she heard the blaring radio on the night of the incident.
Another neighbour, Siwawa Zulu, said Shange came to her house and spoke to her brother, with whom he was friends, late on Wednesday night.
Zulu said she suspected the man was saying his final goodbyes as he also went to see another friend who lives nearby.
One of the friends had discovered the bodies in the morning when he went to ask Shange to switch the radio off.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said the incident happened at about 10pm on Wednesday.
He said a post-mortem examination would determine the cause of death.
“Two dead bodies were found in a house at H section informal settlement, uMlazi.
A body of a… woman was on the floor and a body of a… man was allegedly found hanging inside the house,” said Naicker.