We as South Africans barely had time to catch our breath after the desperate search for six-year-old Amy-Leigh de Jager culminated in the little girl being found alive and unharmed, when we woke to the news of yet another chilling case involving violence against children.
Police are on the hunt for a Durban-based father who is allegedly behind the brutal murder of three of his children, and the death of his 16-year-old stepdaughter. The heartless end to these innocent lives has called for a country in crisis to take finally take notice of just how many children are killed on a daily basis, many of whom don’t even make news headlines.
The events that unfolded recently have rocked the community of Pinetown. The children were found dead in their home in Wyebank. It is unknown as to their exact cause of death but it’s believed they died of cerebral hypoxia.
Kuhlekonke Mpungose, aged four, was a learner at Wyebank crèche, while his siblings, Khwezilekhethelo, aged six, and Sipho, aged 10, were also former learners and still attended the creché aftercare. Their stepsister, Ayakha, and their dad, were reported missing shortly after the bodies were found. Communities search out small search parties in the hopeful attempt the teenager would be found alive. Late last night, around 22h00, family members received the heart-wrenching news. Ayakha had been discovered hanging from a tree in New Germany, a town situated just inland from Durban.
It is suspected that domestic turmoil was behind the murders. According to news reports, the children’s mother and father were in the process of getting divorced and the relationship had been strained for several weeks. The mother had apparently reported the man to the police prior to the crimes due to the intensity of their arguments.
Yesterday, the man apparently said he was moving out. When the mother arrived to fetch her children from school yesterday afternoon, she was told they’d already been collected earlier in the day. She then drove to the police station and asked officers to accompany her home. When they arrived they found two children dead in one room and the third in another room. They had been killed by the process of hanging. The mother then rushed to fetch Ayakha (alleged to have been from a previous relationship) from Pinetown Girls High, but was told on arrival that her stepfather had already fetched her.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the father was still at large at the time of going to press and a murder case has since been opened in Pinetown. While the identity of the suspect has not been made public by police yet, claims that his name is Sibusiso Mpungose have been going viral on social media.
“We are still in the very early stages of the investigation. For now, we are looking for the father as part of the investigation,” said SAPS spokesperson Thembeka Mbele.
Police are currently searching for the father and have urged anyone who may have information on his whereabouts to contact Crime Stop on 0860 10111.
The case follows an nimaginably high string of cases of filicide – the deliberate act of a parent killing their own children. In July a Bloemfontein dad allegedly stabbed his two children, killing his six-year-old daughter and injuring his two-year-old son. The father was arrested when he was found in his shack while attempting to commit suicide.
Just a month later, the lifeless bodies of little Sambulo and Unamandla Ndlela were found hanging inside their home on Women’s Day, August 9. One body was found in the bedroom and another inside the toilet. A rope was apparently used to hang the children. Their dad is alleged to have been the killer. Earlier this year, three more children aged two, three and 11 were killed in Soshanguve as their mom was on her way to court to obtain a protection order against the man who allegedly murdered them.
For for more info and help:
The Warrior Project free legal helpline for domestic abuse victims: 0860 333 353
Childline free call: 0800 055 555.