Pensioners found hanged

2012-10-22 00:00

THE LAST time they were seen alive, an elderly couple from rural KwaSwayimane had gone to collect their monthly pension and do grocery shopping.

On Saturday, three days later, one of their neighbours went to check why she had not received the mielies she had asked them to buy.

The neighbour knocked on the main rondavel and when she did not find the couple, went to a smaller one, where she was assailed by a strong stench.

It was here that she discovered their decomposing bodies.

Eighty-four-year-old Mfa­nalo Mkhize (84) was found slumped on the floor, with a rope around his neck, while his partner Zamekile Ngidi (65) was still hanging from the rafters.

Mkhize’s licensed firearm and pension money were missing, although the groceries the couple bought remained untouched.

Their homestead was isolated, with visitors having to cross the Umgeni River to reach them.

This latest attack on the elderly in the area has angered the KwaSwayimane community, who have yet to come to terms with the brutal rapes in July of a 94-year-old woman and an 84-year-old in the area.

Mkhize’s son, Kumakwakhe (55), said the family was in shock.

“The last time my father was seen alive was when he went to collect his pension with his partner on Wednesday.

“The two lived alone and had the neighbour not visited them on Saturday morning, people would not have known about this cruel deed.”

Mkhize described his father as “a very decent man” who raised 16 children “and gave us nothing but love and education”,

“We are still coming to terms with the loss, because he did not have enemies and he was loved by community members as one of the elders in the area.

“He was old and we were hoping that he would die of natural causes,” he said.

Another neighbour, Khethiwe Myeza (65), said there was no longer any guarantee that old people would be safe in the area.

“I live in fear because this could be me … ”

Myeza hoped that police would tighten security in the area to curb crime, especially against the elderly.

Umshwathi Municipality speaker, Councillor Nonhlanhla Msomi, said she was very worried about the escalation of attacks on elderly people in the KwaSwayimane area.

“We recently had incidents of 94- and 84-year-old pensioners who were raped in the same area and now we have an incident where senior citizens have been killed in the very same area,” she said.

She had contacted the MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu to intervene,

Mchunu’s spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the MEC was shocked and angry at the ongoing brutality against senior citizens in KwaSwayimane, adding such cruelty was totally unacceptable. “The MEC will report this matter to cabinet to see if there are any interventions that can remedy the situation,” Ncalane said.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the motive for the killing was unknown and no arrests had yet been made.

Two counts of murder and house robbery were being investigated.

Earlier this month, the Witness reported that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development had decided to open a state-of-the-art daycare centre for the elderly in the area.

Department spokesperson Vukani Mbhele told The Witness it would cater for the different needs of the aged in the community.


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