Seven relatives, aged between 29 and 79, were shot dead while mourning the death of another family member at their Tantseka village home near Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday night.
The relatives were allegedly attacked by armed men who demanded R50 000 that had been paid out to the family by a burial society. The incident has shocked the family and community of Tantseka.
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.
Six of the family members were shot dead inside a rondavel, while another was shot inside the main house.
“I don't know what they want from this family,” said Mlamli Mgxada.
Mgxada said the incident happened as they were preparing to bury his wife, Novotile Mgxada, 62, who was shot dead last week. She was to be laid to rest on Saturday.
Neighbours said they were horrified and shocked at the attack.
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.
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.
"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.
Police said they are investigating a murder docket.
“The investigation of this matter has been taken over by the provincial organised crime unit,” said Naidu.
Police have asked that anyone with information that could assist in the arrest of the three suspects to contact the investigating officer, Colonel Mtshiyo, on 071 475 2292. The information may also be shared via Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Thandiswa Kupiso expressed her shock following the murder of the seven mourners and immediately dispatched a team of relevant policing units to investigate the gruesome incident.