Tension, tears and despair filled the room when a Durban mother described in horrific detail the discovery of her four children who were allegedly hanged by their father.
Young and with promising futures, her children – ages four, six, 10 and 16 – were murdered one by one, allegedly by their father, after he received final divorce papers.
The father was arrested on Wednesday in Kwadabeka and must still appear in court.
Prior to the death of her children on Tuesday afternoon, the mom said she had sensed something was wrong after the suspect began acting strangely.
“In the morning, my cousin told me that he had started a WhatsApp [conversation] and was very suspicious. When I called him, he said we’ll meet at home, but I could hear that [something] was not OK.”
The desperate mother travelled with a friend to get the children from school, while another colleague travelled to Pinetown Girls High School to get the teen.
But it was already too late, they were missing.
“When we arrived at the crèche the kids were long gone, and when we arrived at the school no one was there so we went to the police station.”
She said she also noticed she was receiving notifications on her e-mail that multiple Taxify trips had been made to fetch the children from school.
“We went to the police station but found out it’s not their jurisdiction, but they allocated us a van with police officers to go and check. When we arrived, we found that he had changed the locks of the house. The police broke the lock and we found my children hanging from the ceiling.”
The emotional mom said their own clothing was used to hang them.
“In one child’s room, he hung them on a burglar bar on the window with the belt from their night gown. In my room as well, he hung the other one,” she claimed.
She said the suspect had sent their 10-year-old back and forth to the tuck shop to buy snacks, so he would allegedly have time to murder each of the children.
“And then the neighbours told me that he had been sending the 10-year-old back and forth to the tuck shop to buy snacks, but I buy snacks for them for the whole month, so why would he be sending the child back and forth to the shops, so that he could remain alone with the younger ones?”
In describing the search for her eldest, she broke down.
She said upon seeing the suspect at her school, the teen asked one of her friends to tell him she had left school already.
“But he already saw her. She wrote down a cell number for her friends to tell me she left with her dad. When I looked at the transport receipts from Taxify sent to my phone, it shows that he took her from Pinetown Girls to Section 14. When we got there, they weren’t there, so I guess they got off and walked.”
She said after posting about her missing daughter on social media, one of her friends reached out, saying she had seen her.
“When we posted about it on social media, one of the daughter’s friends sent me a voice note telling me she saw her with her father walking on top of a bridge. Her father was carrying her bag as she walked behind him.
“We were searching up and down with the police while leaving the other children still hanging to chase after the one that was still alive.”
She said they eventually found the teenager in an area in New Germany that was “just like a forest”.
“He also tied her with her night gown. I guess he was already carrying it with him. The daughter is [big] like me so I guess he couldn’t hang her up so he strangled her with it while she was on the ground,” she claimed.
Shortly after her emotional testimony, the man was found by the police in the Kwadabeka area.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the suspect would face four counts of murder.