Peacemaker hit by gang’s wrath

2019-05-29 15:00
Two-year-old Melokuhle and her Mother Kwenzekile Maphumulo were killed when men barged into their home and shot everyone inside.

Two-year-old Melokuhle and her Mother Kwenzekile Maphumulo were killed when men barged into their home and shot everyone inside.

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A peacekeeper's efforts to stop a fight in his neighbourhood ended tragically when five of his family members were gunned down at his Maqonqo home at the weekend.

Themba Maphumulo could never have foreseen that going to his neighbour’s house to ask him to fix his burst pipe would result in a bloody attack on his home a few hours later.

Maphumulo’s 29-year-old sister, Kwenzekile, and her two-year-old daughter, Melokuhle, were killed when three men barged in and shot everyone in the home. Three other family members — his wife, grandfather and his other sister — were also shot and are recovering in hospital. He believes the attack was related to an argument he had tried to intervene in.

“I don’t know why they would want to kill my entire family because this wasn’t even my feud to begin with,” said Maphumulo.

On Tuesday he faced the grim task of arranging the funeral for his sister and her toddler.

On Sunday night, when Maphumulo arrived at the plumber’s house, his neighbour had a huge gash on his head and was bleeding profusely.

“He said he was drinking at a friend’s house and alleged that the friend had hit him with a bottle.

“While I was still there, [the plumber] received a call from the friend who had hit him and the friend’s brother, asking that he come back to them so they could talk things through.

“My neighbour asked me to give him a lift to the friend’s house and I agreed because it was already too dark for him to walk there alone.

“When we got there, they started pushing [the plumber] around and asking him why he had reported the assault to the police.

“My biggest mistake was that I asked the brothers why they were hitting him and if they wanted to kill him. I regret asking that because they started attacking me too.”

Maphumulo said a scuffle broke out between him and the older brother.

“A gun fell out of [the older brother’s] clothes while we were rolling on the floor. The younger brother picked up the gun and fired a shot towards us, but the shot hit his older brother,” said Maphumulo.

He said he and the plumber fled to the car and drove off. He alleged that the brothers kept on firing shots at them as they drove off. He was later told that the older brother survived and was taken to hospital.

Maphumulo said they drove straight to Bishopstowe police station to report the matter. He said police told him to drive the plumber to hospital as his head injury seemed critical.

A few minutes after they arrived at a hospital in town, Maphumulo received a frantic call from his wife at around 8.45 pm saying that they had been attacked.

“She was crying hysterically, and kept saying there were people trying to kill them. I tried calling both my sisters, but my wife kept on answering all the phones. That’s when I realised that something wasn’t right, and I just sped home immediately.

“Kwenzekile was carrying her daughter, Melo (two), on her back when they were attacked. They shot her once in the chest and Melo was shot twice in the back of her head. When I got home, they were both already lying dead on the couch.

“My wife was shot once in her lower back. My grandfather (83) was lying in the passageway with one gunshot wound in his chest and my other sister, who is nine months pregnant, was shot once in her upper left thigh. I loaded them all into my car and drove them to hospital. They are still there,” said Maphumulo.

He said his other family members, who were sleeping in a separate house, survived the attack.

“Apparently there was a whole gang here. Three armed men went into the house, some were in the yard and some were waiting at the gate.

“I’m afraid they will come back again because maybe I was their main target. My family and I now live in fear since no arrests have been made. We have no choice but to leave everything to the police,” said Maphumulo.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said police were investigating two murder cases and three attempted murder cases.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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