Seven family members gunned down while mourning slain relative

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The local Bityi police station.
The local Bityi police station.
Malibongwe Dayimani
  • Seven family members mourning a loved one have been massacred at their home in Eastern Cape.
  • Relatives were mourning the death of 62-year-old Novotile Mgxada.
  • Her funeral was scheduled for Saturday but had to be postponed following the mass killings.

Seven family members mourning the death of a relative were gunned down by men who stormed their Tantseka village home at midnight on Wednesday.

The relatives were allegedly attacked by armed men who demanded R50 000 that had been paid out to the family by a burial society. 

Six family members - Phumzile Mgxada, 30, Nokulunga Mgxada, 42, Nkosikhona Mgxada, 29, Gcobani Mgxada, 29, Nomasango Mkangeli, 79 and Notawuzile Fukuzana, 68 - died at their home, while a seventh victim, yet to be identified, died on the way to a hospital in Mthatha. 

The attack happened while the group had gathered at their ancestral home, which falls under the Sithebe Administrative Area in Bityi, to mourn the death of their relative Novotile Mgxada, 62, who was shot dead last week. 

Mgxada was scheduled to be buried on Saturday, but it has been postponed in light of the massacre. 

According to an internal police report, seen by News24, three gunmen stormed the home and demanded the money paid to the family by a burial society.  

Family spokesperson and Novotile Mgxada’s husband, Mlamli Mgxada, told journalists he had no idea why the family had been being targeted for the second time after the killing of his wife. 

READ | Eastern Cape farming couple murdered in front of teenage son

"Last week they came and demanded to see me but my wife refused to tell them where I was hiding. They shot her dead. They also shot my grandson, but he survived after he was treated in hospital," he said. 

Mgxada said he had been sleeping in a secret location, fearing for his life, after learning he was being sought by gunmen for reasons unknown to him.  

He revealed that, before shooting of his seven relatives, the gunmen had demanded R50 000 which had been paid out to the family by a burial society. 

However, they had not been able to find it.

While the police report revealed that Mgxada was involved in a group fighting stock theft in the area, and which is currently embroiled in infighting, Mgxada said he did not believe that the deadly attacks were linked to this.

Acting Eastern Cape police commissioner Major-General Thandiswa Kupiso expressed her shock at the incident, and instructed that all the relevant policing units be assigned to investigate it.

Kupiso said seven cases of murder had been opened, and were being investigated by the provincial Organised Crime Unit.  

Police are urging anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects to contact the investigating officer, Colonel Mtshiyo on 071 475 2292.  The information may also be shared via Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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