Violence as families fight at graveyard
POLICE were called to restore order at a community cemetery in Bulilima District when the family of a woman who was allegedly killed by a man who later hanged himself clashed with the alleged murderer’s family members for burying their son next to their daughter.
Professor Phuthi (28) of Dombolefu Ward brutally axed his wife Ms Sibongile Mhlanga and a neighbourhood watch committee member, Ms Elizabeth Maphosa, who was five months pregnant, on Saturday morning before hanging himself following a domestic dispute.
On Tuesday morning, a local councillor called the police to come to the cemetery after anticipating violence between the two sets of families.
The Maphosa family became furious after the Phuthi family buried Professor about four metres away from their daughter’s grave.
They tried to beat up members of the Phuthi family but police intervened.
The late Elizabeth’s father, Mr France Maphosa, who is also the head of Village 26 in Dombolefu Ward, said the Phuthi family conducted their burial service at the same time as his family’s service.
“We were justified to be violent as the Phuthi family disrespected us. As we were completing our service at the community cemetery, they appeared while carrying the body of their son and started their own service.
“They even chose to lay their son’s body about four metres from where we had laid my daughter. This didn’t please my family at all. To make matters worse, this boy is from Village 2 because that’s where his father stays but they decided to bury him within my village,” he said.
Mr Maphosa said his family attempted to block the Phuthi family from conducting their service but police and village members intervened and escorted them back to their homestead.
He said he expected Phuthi’s family to compensate him for the death of his daughter as well as for burial costs.
Mr Maphosa said his family was yet to decide on the payment they wanted, but once that has been done they would engage the Phuthi family.
Dombolefu Ward councillor, Mr Morgen Ndebele, said Elizabeth’s siblings and uncles tried to beat up Phuthi’s family members in protest over their daughter’s death.
“The presence of the police during the burial helped to maintain peace. When Elizabeth’s body arrived at the homestead just before the burial, her relatives started accusing the Phuthi family of killing their daughter.
“They went on to retrieve logs and bricks and advanced towards the Phuthi homestead with an intention to fight. Police intervened,” he said.— @DubeMatutu.