The man who allegedly hacked members of his family to death at their home in Douglas has been arrested. Picture: Danie Van der Lith

Northern Cape - A man hacked his family to death with a metre-long axe in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Although the exact details of the incident remain sketchy, it is alleged that the 53-year-old Douglas man went into a killing frenzy, chopping off the head of his 19-year-old nephew, Ferdinand Langeveldt, while he was sleeping in his bedroom before also hacking the teenager’s mother, Hendrika Langeveldt, 40, to death.

The man then struck his 80-year-old mother, Minah Langeveldt, several times with the weapon, although she managed to crawl out of the house and was found lying in a pool of blood in front of the house.

“Her intestines were hanging out and she had two open wounds on her back. She also lost a lot of blood. She would have died had we not arrived at the scene on time,” said community members who did not want to be named.

“She also had injuries on her hands,” they added.

The man’s 17-year-old niece, Henrieta Langeveldt, managed to get out of the house and jump over a 1.7-metre-high fence to look for help.

“When we got to the house to help, the gate was locked and when we tried to jump over the fence to help Minah, the man came towards us wielding a bloodstained axe, threatening to kill us. We had to call other members of the community and only then did he run away from the house,” the residents said.

Northern Cape police said that they have launched a manhunt for the alleged killer.

“Henrieta was treated at the Douglas Hospital and discharged while Minah is still in a critical condition,” police spokeswoman, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said.

She said that the reason for the attack was still not known and that the police were investigating two cases of murder and two cases of attempted murder.

Naidu urged members of the community with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts to contact the investigating officer, Detective Captain James Oliphant, on 082 495 4665 or the Douglas police station immediately.

She also warned members of the community not to approach the suspect.

The family refused to speak to the DFA on Thursday.

Bloodstains were still visible at the door and on the ground in front of the house where the suspect’s mother was found by members of the community.

Heavily armed police officers descended on the family’s house on Thursday morning.

They later took some of the family members to the police station.

Community members stated that they believed that the man had planned the attack because they saw him sharpening the weapon several days earlier.

“He would sit on the stoep and sharpen the weapon. Nobody thought that he was preparing to kill his family,” they said.

Some of the residents warned that if the man did not hand himself over to the police, they would hunt him down themselves and “do to him what he did to his family”.

“He must pray that we do not find him first,” they said.

Others, however, feared that the man could come after them because they were close to his family.

“If he can kill his own family and attack his mother, he can kill us as well. How can we now sleep? We fear that if the police do not arrest him, he could harm us,” they added.

They described the suspect as a “savage” who has spent most of his life in prison for “chopping off his wife’s head” when he was still living in Cape Town.

“He attacks the family when he is drunk. Ferdinand once said that this man was going to kill them because he was too violent. In fact, at one point the entire family applied for an interdict against him because he was assaulting them,” community members said.

They added that a few hours before the killing the suspect was seen drinking at a local tavern.

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