Pain for family of murdered twins

2018-10-02 15:45
Gogo Melta Dlamini holds up athletic medals belonging to her twin grandsons, Asanda and Sandile Mbatha (15), who were shot dead on Saturday in a shack in Madiba near their home in Sobantu. INSET: Asanda and  Sandile Mbatha.

Gogo Melta Dlamini holds up athletic medals belonging to her twin grandsons, Asanda and Sandile Mbatha (15), who were shot dead on Saturday in a shack in Madiba near their home in Sobantu. INSET: Asanda and Sandile Mbatha. (Ian Carbutt)

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The family of 15-year-old twins from Sobantu who were allegedly killed by a rival traditional indlamu dance group on Saturday night, believe their children were “at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

The twins, Asanda and Sandile Mbatha, and their friend, Siyabonga Hlomuka (16), were shot dead in a one-room mud structure on a steep slope in the Madiba area, just outside Sobantu. They were all pupils at Sobantu Secondary School.

Read: Teenage dance of death

Police Captain Gay Ebrahim said three other teenagers sustained gunshot wounds and are recovering in hospital. Ebrahim said reports that one of the survivors had died in hospital were not true.

The six teenagers, including a girl believed to be 12 or 13, were in the shack when two gunmen barged in and shot everyone.

The twins’ aunt, Bongi Dlamini, said they were her brother’s children but she raised them.

The family are struggling to come to terms with losing both children in one blow. “They were inseparable; they always followed each other and did everything together. It’s all unbelievable and overwhelming.”

Dlamini said Asanda had left home with two boys from the neighbourhood around 4 pm on Saturday. Sandile was at his part-time job and when he came back and didn’t find his brother at home, he went out to join him. “They always slept at home. So when it started getting late we also got worried. We just knew something was wrong. We waited up all night hoping they would walk in the door but they never came back.”

Dlamini said at around 7 am on Sunday, someone came to tell them that the twins had been shot.

“They didn’t tell us that they were dead. They just told us to hurry to Madiba to see what had happened.”

Madiba is a roughly 10-minute walk from the twins’ home.

Dlamini said she was aware the twins attended events to perform indlamu (traditional dance) but said she was not aware that they belonged to the Abadlovozi, a traditional dance group from Sobantu. “They also loved running and would enter race competitions together,” said Dlamini as she pointed to several medals hanging from the room divider.

She said she was still in the dark as to why her children were killed.

“I just think it was a case of them being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I honestly have no idea why anyone would want to kill my children,” said a tearful Dlamini.

The twins’ elderly grandmother, Melta Dlamini, said she was heartbroken. “My spirit is broken, they killed my beautiful boys. May the good Lord be with them in heaven. They were very good boys, I don’t have anyone to send around anymore,” she said.

The family of the other murdered boys, Siyabonga Hlomuka, had told The Witness at the weekend that they suspected the murders were sparked by a dispute between the Abadlovozi group and another indlamu group from Tamboville.

A source at Sobantu Secondary told The Witness that the Sobantu and Tamboville indlamu groups were formed under the school’s banner of cultural activities and that the members of both groups were pupils at the school.

Spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department Muzi Mahlambi said the department will work closely with the police and the Department of Community Safety to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.

“If it was indeed a rivalry between the dance groups belonging to the school then it will be easy to identify the members and find the culprits. We will not tolerate them turning a beautiful cultural activity into gangsterism.

“We do not condone such acts and if we find that any of the pupils were involved we will deal with them as adults as there were guns involved,” said Mahlambi.

Captain Ebrahim said the police are still investigating the matter and no arrests have been made yet.

Read more on:    crime  |  pietermaritzburg

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