Members of the community in which four children were found stabbed and mutilated on Saturday near Port Edward have accused their mother of neglect, saying she often left them alone to go out at the weekend.
The children were stabbed multiple times and the left ears of three were cut off. They all died.
When The Mercury’s sister paper Isolezwe visited the family yesterday, the mother, Slindile Mbhele, 29, said she had to be rescued by the police as the community in Nzimakwe, Ncukeni, tried to beat her up.
She confessed to having been at a tavern when the children were killed and said if she did go out at the weekend she would tell the children to sleep at the neighbour’s house if she was not going to come back.
“I was collected by a friend at the tavern who told me to rush home as something had happened.
“I was shown my son Lwandile’s body in the garden. The community assaulted me, accusing me of being careless in leaving the children alone,” said Mbhele.
She said that on Friday before she left she went to buy them food with grant money.
Bandile, Lwandile and Sphindile were pupils at Nzimakwe primary school. Lwandile was due to start Grade R at the same school.
The bodies of the other three children were found in bed, stabbed and mutilated, while Lwandile’s body was found with stab wounds near the garden.
A neighbour, Victoria Mkhoma, said Lwandile came to her home at night to tell her there was an “uncle” playing with them by tying their hands.
“The child spoke to my daughter as I was in my bedroom. She told him to go and collect their blankets and siblings to come and sleep over at my house because they normally sleep here when their mother is away on weekends.”
She said the child came back to say the uncle had untied them.
She said she was shocked when she heard her daughter crying on hearing the news of the children’s death.
The mayor of Ray Nkonyeni municipality, Nomusa Mqwebu, who arrived carrying groceries, said the municipality would assist in burying the children.
“This has shocked us. We do not know what’s wrong with people as we hear shocking things on the news.”
KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda has called for the sternest punishment for whoever was responsible for the killing.
“The mutilated bodies of the Mbhele siblings, aged between 4 and 12, were discovered by members of the public,” a statement from Kaunda’s office confirmed yesterday.
“Police reported that when they arrived, they found the deceaseds’ bodies with multiple stab wounds and they had their left ears chopped off. The siblings stayed with their mother who was not at home when the incident occurred.”
Police were questioning a person who was found sleeping in the home with the slain children.
“As government, we condemn the brutal murder of the four innocent children,” Kaunda said. “We call upon members of the police to thoroughly investigate this case and ensure that whoever is responsible is removed from society and locked away for a very long time.”
Police confirmed they were investigating four counts of murder.
On Monday The Mercury reported that a case of child neglect was being investigated. – Additional reporting by ANA