Maverick Citizen


Surviving child of Lusikisiki family murder cries for her mother at emotional funeral this week

Surviving child of Lusikisiki family murder cries for her mother at emotional funeral this week
Social worker Mantombazana Dampa comforts the 11-year-old survivor of the Lusikisiki family murder during the funeral at Jabavu village, near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on 20 September 2023. (Photo: Hoseya Jubase)

The survivor of a Lusikisiki family murder hysterically called for her mother who was buried with her three siblings in an emotional funeral on Wednesday. Ntombizanele Mntsizela committed suicide after poisoning three of her four children with ‘tank pills’, a rat poison available on the streets of Lusikisiki. Her 11-year-old daughter managed to get away by pretending to be dead before running for help.

An 11-year-old girl who survived a tragic poisoning murder and suicide by playing dead and then running away to look for help, cried out for her mom several times as the coffins of her family arrived at the funeral in Lusikisiki on Wednesday, 20 September.

Earlier this month, her mother, Ntombizanele Mntsizela, bought “tank pills” – an agricultural poison for rats from a shop in Lusikisiki – and used it to poison three of her four children and herself. Their bodies were recovered in the thick forest between Port St Johns and Lusikisiki.

The children who died were Iyapha (13), Inga (8) and Phila (3).

lusikisiki funeral

The coffins of Iyapha Mntsizela (13), Inga Mntsizela (8), Ntombizanele Mntsizela (35) and Phila Mntsizela (3) at the grave site in Jabavu village near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on 20 September 2023. (Photo: Hoseya Jubase)

Social workers and traditional leaders tried to comfort the surviving child, but her cries of “Mama, Mama, Mama” echoed through the funeral procession.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Desperately poor Eastern Cape mom kills herself and three of her four children

Since the family was struggling financially, Khwalo Funeral Services offered the coffins and hearses free.

Ntombizanele’s distraught mother, Nozixele Mntsizela, was also at the funeral.

lusikisiki funeral

Grandmother of the children Nozixele Mntsizela is overcome during the funeral of her three grandchildren and daughter at Jabavu village, near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, on 20 September 2023. (Photo: Hoseya Jubase)

Family members said they were still in the dark about the motive for the murders and the reason for Ntombizanele’s suicide.

“She was under a lot of pressure and suffered from depression,” one relative said, adding that she had been desperate to find a job.

Jabavu Primary School principal, Mzwandile Junda, said the incident had devastated learners at his school. Eight-year-old Inga and the 11-year-old survivor attended classes at the school.

“Their mother was very depressed,” Junda said.

“In 2018 I had offered her a job to cook for the learners, but in 2019 she moved the children to Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal. But she returned home this year.”

Junda said the deceased’s classmates were receiving counselling from a social worker.

lusikisiki funeral

Kwazizamele Junior Secondary School learners surround the hearses carrying the four bodies at Jabavu village Near Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on 20 September 2023. (Photo: Hoseya Jubase)

This is the third incident of maternal filicide in the province within a year. In two cases, the mothers committed suicide, while the mom in the third case, which took place in Encobo, later died of unknown causes while in police custody.

Director of the Khula Development Community Project, Petros Majola, urged communities to supplement their food through gardening and not only depend on social grants to survive.

“I am asking myself, what is happening? We buried four kids in Ngcobo, murdered by their mother, and recently we buried three kids and their mother in Butterworth, and today we are burying three kids and their mother,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Desperate Eastern Cape mom kills starving children and hangs herself

“This leaves us with a lot of questions… one talks about poverty being the cause of this, and I am saying, yes, it could be the reason, but I want to challenge our communities to embark on other programmes… to do food gardening so that we do not depend on child support grants alone.

“The grant money is not enough… today we are mourning the death of innocent children,” Majola said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Premier Mabuyane promises support to Eastern Cape mom who bludgeoned children to death

Port St John’s mayor, Nomvuzo Mlombile Cingo, confirmed that many people in the municipality lived below the poverty line.

“This family is just a normal African family… What is important is to make sure these people have food and are able to take care of themselves.

“We are still interested to know what drove her (Ntombizanele) to this. We are working together with social workers to understand why she took this decision,” Cingo said.

“We had to intervene as a municipality, with the help of the OR Tambo District Municipality and NGOs, to provide groceries and other items to this family,” Cingo added.

Last week, the children’s grandfather, Gudlani Sikhundlwana, said the family had been in a desperate struggle for food.

“The food was never enough,” he said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • t.ama says:

    Really sad to read this. Wishing the family left behind Godly comfort.

  • I wonder how many of these incidences does the ANC need to see the country is burning. The problem is ever escalating. If we could put ANC on all graves of people who died of hunger and depression, the country will be green, black and yellow. This is not about Cyril but about him and his ANC. I have never seen such theft, rape, corruption, abuse of Elders for their pension money, increased number of homeless young men, alcoholism, drug addiction, and lies by the ANC in covering up, captured civil organisations, captured academia and research institutions who when commissioned to give the picture of the country, they do a cover-up. Environmentalists shying away from sewerage poured in the ocean, drownings in big dams that are found within communities, unearthed people who died in the unfortunate night of 12 April 2022 where 345 people died in their sleep when iNanda Dam broke it pipes and ranks and wiped clean an area habitat by these people. Up to this day those who were left homeless still live in community halss and its business as usual for all of us. The looting that we coming from is just a prelude to a big chaos because unemployed graduates is an insult to kids who study and come back home to live off of R350 for unemployed. Some have reached 40 with no record of employment. I am calling outside countries to assist so our kids will leave this ANC alone. Im a woman, Im tired crying. I cant afford to be in a funeral of youth. Just yesterday we buried kids from ENyobeni.

  • May I be sent email address to Daily Maverick as there is a corruption I want to crack to them.

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