Durban - A Phoenix father shot dead his wife and then turned the gun on himself in full view of their two children on Sunday night.
Two days earlier, a Clairwood man shot and injured his girlfriend before killing himself.
It is believed both tragedies were as a result of domestic disputes.
A week before their deaths, Zane Smith, 28, self-employed, and his wife, Berine Haines, 34, a nurse at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, had sold their home in Terence Park because of crime concerns.
They had moved into a rented, two-bedroom home in Palmview, where the shooting took place.
Their bodies, with bullet wounds to their heads, were found by relatives.
It has been alleged that the couple had been having marital problems and Berine had wanted to separate from Zane.
Their landlord, who did not want to be named, said the couple had been arguing during the day. He said he took the couple’s children, aged 7 and 2, to his home to escape having to witness the argument. An hour later, Zane fetched them from him.
“His relatives came to the house to speak to them,” the landlord said.
“We heard arguing again and a police van later arrived. His relatives left to speak to the police and then three shots were heard.”
The landlord said a gun was found near Zane’s body.
“There was blood everywhere. Their baby saw everything and the daughter got up after she heard the shots and was hysterical.”
The children were taken to their paternal grandparents’ home.
“We are still in shock. They were nice and friendly, but argued a lot. We had heard them fighting before but never expected this to happen.”
A relative of Berine’s, Selma Haines, said Berine had been in the process of separating from Zane.
“She sold their home and gave him his share of the money. Berine then moved into the outbuilding with her children.
“He did not want them to separate and throughout the day on Sunday he threatened to shoot her if she left him.”
Selma said Berine had sent a text message to her sister, who lived in Ixopo, for help and to her brother, who worked in Jacobs, in Durban.
“She was afraid he was going to kill her. Her sister contacted the Phoenix police for help and they came to the home to intervene. While police were talking to his relatives outside, he shot her and then himself.”
Selma said minutes after the shooting, Berine’s brother arrived.
“He decided to go to her home after work to check on her, but instead found her dead. She still had her handbag on her shoulder when he shot her.”
Selma said their family was in shock.
“She married Zane in 2010 in a Muslim ceremony. Throughout their marriage, she never complained about abuse or problems and whenever we saw her she seemed fine.”
Berine, formerly from Ixopo, started working at the hospital in 2010 in the Mental Health Care Unit. She had a diploma in nursing and midwifery.
MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who is also the chairperson of the KZN Men’s Forum, encouraged men to protect their families and to better handle disagreements.
Two days earlier Gonaseelan Govender, 45, shot his girlfriend, Suhana Ramdial, 24, before shooting himself in the head.
It is alleged they had an argument at a tow-truck yard in Clairwood on Friday. Govender died at the scene. Ramdial is in hospital.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said in both cases firearms were found next to the dead men.
“In the Phoenix shooting, charges of murder and an inquest was open and in Clairwood a case of attempted murder and an inquest is being investigated.”