Police minister Bheki Cele cautioned women yesterday to leave a toxic relationship at the first sign of trouble.
“When he points a finger at you, run away. Next time he will point a firearm at you,” Cele told hundreds of mourners in Sidabekweni village in Xhora (Elliotdale) at the burial of a brutally slain mother and her five children.
Nolungile Sikhundana wailed, watching from 100 metres away as the caskets of her daughter, Nomzamo Mhlanti, 42, and her grandchildren, Azakhiwe, 10, Yibanathi, 8, twins Wineka and Thoko, 5, and baby Luphumlo Mhlanti, six months, were lowered into the ground.
Baliswa Sikhundwana, Nomzamo’s younger sister, was rushed to hospital. She cried uncontrollably as her sister, three nieces and two nephews were buried. She fainted in court last week when her family’s alleged killer appeared.
The family was hacked to death with an axe in a small shack, allegedly by the woman’s boyfriend, on November 24. The man, Nowa Makula, is set to appear in the local magistrate’s court today to apply for bail. He is the father of the twins and the infant.
Cele said what would change gender-based violence (GBV) was neither the police nor the law but families themselves. “Families must be involved in issues of GBV. It is women who tell girls to tolerate abusive situations. What is that?
“These deaths are the result of being tolerant. This situation does not happen in one day. It builds up. Neighbours, sisters and friends see it. Encourage those people to leave those kinds of situations while they can,” Cele said.