Grandmother, children shot and set alight in KZN

Shocked residents of KwaZulu-Natal’s Mandawe village were trying to help police on Monday track down the murderers of a grandmother and her five grandchildren, who were burnt beyond recognition.

“At first, everybody was too shocked to speak but now they are trying to help us,” said police spokesperson Captain Tienkie van Vuuren.

“The community is pulling together. The elders have arrived to offer support for the family and the mood here is very sombre,” she said.

The elderly woman’s son Thulani Xulu told police he was asleep in his rondavel at Xulu’s kraal in the Mandawe area of Eshowe when three men forced the door open and ordered him outside.

He refused and a shot was fired at him, so he agreed to go outside once he was dressed, Van Vuuren said.

When he quickly closed and bolted the door, the three men opened fire and forced their way into the house.

They killed Maria Xulu (80) and her grandchildren Lindiwe Biyela (21), Ntombifuti Mkhabela (9), Gadile and Bhekumuzi Mkhabela, both seven years old, and S’bongile Mkhabela (12), who were sleeping.

The men then poured petrol over their bodies and set the house on fire.

Other family members, including Irene Xulu, the mother of the dead children, and Thulani, managed to run away.

They returned after the gunmen had sped off and discovered the bodies, burnt beyond recognition.

Van Vuuren said police have recovered AK47 and 9mm shells and a number of leads but do not want disclose further information yet.

Last year, Maria Xulu’s daughter Harriet Khanyile was shot dead and police are investigating possible links.—Sapa

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