Families still reeling from deadly unrest that rocked KZN

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As the dust settles following the deadly unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, some families are left with deep painful scars.
It is slowly becoming clear that some people may have died in the crossfire. A mother, whose son was found with a bulletin wound to his head, says authorities need to widen the investigations into deaths related to violence and looting.

Khethiwe Nzimande is struggling to come to terms with her loss.

Her fifteen-year-old son Thulasizwe Nzimande died after he was hit by a stray bullet at home:

The Nzimande family resides in Amaoti, a few kilometres from Phoenix north of Durban. Khethiwe says she was home going about her daily chores when the incident happened. She says her son had one wound which doctors suspect is from a gunshot.

“My child was not injured outside our home or looting, he was injured while lying in his bed at our home. I wanted to use the phone and went to his room. I found him with foam coming from his mouth but he was breathing. I screamed and my neighbours came they saw he was injured. We took him to hospital, the doctor told us it looks like a gunshot wound, he later died in hospital. We are waiting for the post-mortem results to shed some light on the cause of death. My appeal to government is to widen the investigation because not all people who were injured were part of the looting, I am deeply hurt because my child was injured inside our home.”

For Qondeni Vilakazi, Thulasizwe’s grandmother, the grief is too deep.

“What I witnessed was like someone had pushed a nail inside my grandson’s head, they told me he was shot and they pointed at the roof where the bullet had come through before hitting his head while he was in his bed. He was such a respectful child, even doing well at school, my heart is broken. A week before he died he had visited me, he cleaned our yard when he was leaving. He promised to visit me again soon and I was excited because I had hoped by the time he visits me again I would have money. Somehow I feel he did say his goodbyes to me, I have lost a friend who loved and respected me.”

Addressing the media on Friday, acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni revealed that five more people were arrested following the deaths in Phoenix.

“And in terms of arrests that are related to the murders, five additional people were arrested for the unrest related murders in KZN, bringing the total arrests for the murders to 20. The five additional arrests are in connection with murders in Phoenix. And there are no new updates on the arrests of the instigators and the key role players in the unrests.”

According to figures released by government on Friday, 251 people have died due to violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and 163 murder cases are being investigated.