Brutal murder of couple prompt community to act
BARBERTON - Fed-up with the “absolute lawlessness” in Emjindini, angry community members took to the streets on Tuesday to demand calm in the area. This follows the brutal murder of well-known local shebeen owner, Gugu Vanessa Mkhize, and her husband, Malcolm Nkululeko Mathew.
Cllr Lifa Sithole said the march was against the incompetence they had seen at Barberton Police Station regarding the recent murders. He said as a community, they demand a new station commander.
“The area is no longer peaceful as it once was. Every week, we have to bury someone’s family members. They die brutally. It seems the police are failing to do their job. We demand that peace must be restored in the area,” said Sithole.
The couple, according to a police report, was allegedly murdered on Monday at around 01:30, after they had been attacked by robbers in their rental apartment in Extension 9.
According to Capt Jabu Ndubane, police spokesperson, said the landlord alleged that he had been awoken by what sounded like a chain being dragged along the ground. When he rose to investigate the noise, three men were outside. Two were armed and pointed their guns at him, forcing him back into the house.
“Two of the suspects proceeded to tie him up before going into the back room where Mathew and Mkhize were sleeping. The landlord alleges that he heard six shots being fired by one of the men before the other two left the back room,” explained Ndubane.
The landlord later found that his tenants had been shot dead and the house had been ransacked.
An investigation of the murder scene revealed that the suspects had tried to open the door with a crowbar and pickaxe that was left at the scene.
“When the police entered the house, they found that the stove in the kitchen was damaged, the sitting room was upside down and the bedroom ransacked. Six spent cartridges were found at the scene near the bodies of Mathew and Mkhize,” continued Ndubane.
“The one victim was lying halfway between the main bedroom and the sitting room. He was fatally shot in the forehead. The female was found in the bedroom between the bed and the wall. It appeared that she had tried to hide from the intruders. She sustained a gunshot to the upper abdomen.”
Ndubane added that a purse, a cell phone and some documents, reportedly belonging to Mkhize, had been found lying on the floor.
The tavern, not far from the victims’ residence, was also plundered by the suspects.
“They took the business keys and went to open the tavern, where they made off with the cash register. The police suspect the attackers were on foot, given that the tavern is within walking distance from Extension 9,” added Ndubane.
Investigations into the incident are under way, and the three suspects face charges of double murder, house robbery and business robbery.
The police ask that anyone with information that may assist the investigation call Det Lt Col Senzo Dawe on 071-685-1364 or the Crime Stop number on 0860-010-111.
Editor: Anchen Coetzee
Written by: Richard Nkosi
Subeditor: Wahl Lessing