Two men and a child were shot dead at their home in the Mjadu area, Richards Bay, apparently in a feud between two families. After the shooting, the home was set alight with the victims’ bodies inside. Khaya Mncube, a member of the same family, was killed in September last year.
“According to local residents, there are no ongoing public order police (POP) patrols in the area and whoever was responsible for the killings on Friday night obviously took advantage of that,” said KwaZulu-Natal peace monitor Mary de Haas.
“POP patrols are needed both as back-up to investigators who are doing good work in difficult and dangerous conditions, and to protect residents. It is unacceptable that they have not maintained a visible presence in the area, and it is essential that they be redeployed,” De Haas said.
She said the violence in the area was a consequence of “extremely poor provincial police management” in detective services and crime intelligence.
“There are extremely serious, and widespread, allegations of gross corruption in the traditional authority as well as mining tender corruption. It is known that there are plans to move people for some oil- or gas-related activities which would involve more tenders,” De Haas said.
She said a climate of terror had gripped the area since last year, with several murders being recorded.
Last year community members alleged that a certain family was behind the killings because the victims spoke out against that family getting tenders through corruption.
However, a resident who has been in hiding after an attempt on his life, said the weekend’s triple killing was not related to tender corruption.
“It’s a feud between two families. I don’t have the details of the feud, but it is a known fact that the two families have been on each other’s case for some time,” said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said three counts of murder and two of attempted murder were opened at Esikhaleni police station.
She said two men and a 2-year-old child died at the scene, while a woman and her 6-week-old baby escaped.