Mass murder breakthrough

2018-11-05 15:03
Photographs of six of the seven members of the Khoza family from Caluza are seen at their funeral yesterday at the KwaCaluza Sports Centre.

Photographs of six of the seven members of the Khoza family from Caluza are seen at their funeral yesterday at the KwaCaluza Sports Centre.

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Amid grief, tears and agony, anguished mourners broke out in loud cheers and chanting after MEC for Community Safety in Gauteng Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, announced that the prime suspect in the murders of seven family members from KwaCaluza had been arrested.

The man (27) and an accomplice (61) were arrested on Saturday, following the gruesome discovery earlier in the week of the bodies of three women and four children in a bedroom and garage at a house in Vlakfontein, Johannesburg. Neither of them may be named yet.

Mbali and Dudu Khoza were found buried under a pile of sand, while the bodies of Dudu’s three children — Nomfundo, Luyanda and Sibongakonke — and Nomfundo’s children Karabo (11) and Nkanyiso (2), were found in shallow graves at the house.

Speaking at a mass funeral at the KwaCaluza Sports Centre in Edendale on Sunday, Nkosi-Malobane said she was angry that police had brought back the prime suspect alive.

“I made a promise with the family that by the time we bury these bodies, that devil must be behind bars,” she said.

“While I am pleased that he has been caught, I’m very disappointed with the police. I told them to go and find him dead or alive. I’m disappointed that they brought him back alive.

“I’m disappointed because when you get a life sentence, you are eligible for parole after 25 years. This man is still young, if he gets parole, he will come back and kill more innocent people,” Nkosi-Malobane said to loud chanting.

According to Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo, the 27-year-old man faces additional charges of rape.

He could not, however, reveal how many rape charges and to which of the victims the charges applied.

The man was found with bank cards belonging to two of the victims.

The Gauteng team investigating serious and violent crimes were led to Mpumalanga, near the Lebombo border post, where they made the first arrest.

“On further investigation, a second suspect, a 61-year-old male, was traced and arrested in Dobsonville,” said Masondo.

They are expected to appear in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Nkosi-Malobane urged men to take a stand against the abuse and killings of women and children.

“As long as men don’t stand up and fight against the scourge, as long as you don’t say anything about the killings of women and the rape of innocent children, we are going to continue calling you trash. The ball is in your court, it is now your responsibility to win this war,” she said.

She also urged women to stop being “too trusting”.

“These people were killed because of love, because of being too trusting. They trusted this wolf in a sheep’s clothing,” she said.

It is suspected that the man, from Zimbabwe, “wormed” his way into the family after deceiving them via Facebook in 2015, by claiming to be a child of the late brother of Dudu and Mbali.

It was a sorrowful day in KwaCaluza as six photographs lined up in a hall for family and friends, among others, mourners, to bid farewell to their loved ones.

Nkanyiso (2) is yet to be buried.

It was not a normal funeral service, however, as there were no coffins and the proceedings were cut short.

Dignataries including MEC for Community Safety in Gauteng Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo joined mourners at the Khoza family’s funeral. 

The badly decomposed bodies were only fetched from the mortuary in time for the family to do a traditional ritual and then had to be immediately buried.

Some of the relatives, and other mourners, had to be escorted out of the hall as emotions ran high.

Others fainted, wept, and wailed so loudly that KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, had to ask paramedics and social workers to assist with counselling outside the hall.

Reacting to the news of the arrest, family member Gugu Ngema was hopeful that the family would be able to find closure. “We just want to face him and ask why he did it,” she said weeping.

Another family member, Melisi Mlaba, said he was very angry.

“What type of person takes the lives of three children like this? This devil does not deserve to live. If I had it my way, he would be dead already,” said Mlaba.

Another relative, Sinenhlanhla Goso, added that not knowing where the suspect was hiding had given the family sleepless nights.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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