Suspect’s family open case

2010-11-02 00:00

IN the process of investigating the Ntshongweni family massacre, the elite police unit, the Hawks, have allegedly applied a heavy hand against the family members of one of the suspects.

The allegations were levelled a few hours after the police shot and killed one of the wanted men.

The Mkhize family in Endaleni in Richmond, who are close relatives of Khetha “Bhejane” Nxele, have opened a case of intimidation against the Hawks, alleging they were roughly awoken when police, armed with assault rifles, kicked down doors and pointed firearms at them in the early hours of yesterday morning. They also alleged that police hurled insults at them.

The alleged intimidation took place when about 20 heavily armed police officers paid an unexpected visit and ransacked a house looking for Nxele. They entered all the houses in the homestead by kicking doors open, searching under beds, and pulling out clothes from wardrobes to see if Nxele was hiding there. They said other police were searching roofs, a vegetable garden, and a chicken coop.

“They pointed firearms at us, including my 70-year-old grandmother. My daughter was called Isifebe [bitch] and was threatened with assault when she complained that they were disturbing her study for today’s [yesterday] maths matric exam paper,” said Nxele’s aunt’s Khombi Mkhize.

The family is still mourning the death of Nxele’s cousin, Philani “Nkalakatha” Nxele, who is also a suspect in the mass murder. He was killed during a shootout with Hawks and Dog Unit officers in Thornwood, Pinetown, at about 11 am on Sunday. It is alleged that the deceased, who was shot several times in the chest, was with another man. The other man managed to escape during the shoot-out.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe said police were still not sure whether the man who escaped was Nxele. She said the deceased was found in possession of a firearm.

Both Philani and Nxele are on parole for a theft-related case, and have a warrant of arrest issued against them. Both cousins are from Itshelemnyama in Pinetown, and the Mkhize family said they last visited some years ago.

“I wish he would just hand himself over to the police. Maybe a long term in prison will rehabilitate him. He is a menace to this family. Jail has become his second home because he is always in and out. I’m even scared of him,” said Nxele’s uncle, Meshack Mkhize.

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