Families of Montclair murder-suicide victims left in shock

DURBAN – The families and colleagues of a Durban Regional Court Magistrate and her husband are in disbelief after the bodies of the couple and their three children were found at their Montclair home on Thursday afternoon.

Sandile Mkhize, 40, an interpreter at the Durban Magistrate’s Court, is believed to have shot dead his wife, Bongekile Ntenza, 42, and their children; Fekeza, Thabiso and Kwezi, before turning the gun on himself.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane, said they were alerted after a relative failed to reach the family. Four of the bodies were found in the home’s main bedroom and the fifth in an adjoining en suite.

Bongekile’s brother-in-law, Jabulani Mncwabe, said they were shocked by the shooting.

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Court interpreter Sandile Mkhize and his wife, magistrate Bongekile Ntenza.

He said the details that led to the tragedy was still sketchy.

“We heard from neighbours that at around 6pm on Tuesday, they heard gun shots coming from the house.

“It does not look like there had been a break-in. The doors and the burglar-guard gate were locked. Their cars were still parked in the yard,” he said.

Mncwabe said the family became suspicious when Ntenza did not report for work on Thursday.

He said when relatives tried to call her or Mkhize, they could not reach either of them.

“We contacted the security company that guards their house. They went to check and alerted police,” he said.

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Acting senior Chatsworth magistrate, Nkosiyazi Ngcobo, who worked with Ntenza, said she was in shock.

Ngcobo recalled times when he would see Ntenza crying at work but when he asked, she would not go into detail about what was troubling her.

“I just conceded that there were some difficult times or challenges at home,” Ngcobo said.

He said Ntenza was a quiet, hard-working person.

“Her death is a great loss for me personally as I had been trying to get her to join me at Chatsworth. She had agreed and I was waiting for approval from my managers,” Mncwabe said.

He said Ntenza had two children from a previous marriage and she and Mkhize shared a daughter.

It is believed the girls were in grades 9, 6 and 3 at local schools.

Meanwhile, sources said that in January, Mkhize had been charged for pointing a firearm at a man after they were drinking.

It is believed the matter was later withdrawn.

Another neighbour said Mkhize often drank and partied with fellow neighbours.

“He always carried his gun and whenever he was drunk, he would wave it around.

“Last year, he pointed a gun at his neighbour and hit him on the back of his head with the butt of the gun. A case was opened against him and he was arrested.

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“The neighbour then obtained a restraining order against him. Mkhize was drinking again yesterday. He could have been reckless with his gun again,” the neighbour said.

Montclair SAPS Community Policing Forum chairperson, Aaron Nyadi, expressed his condolences to the families of both Ntenza and Mkhize.

“This is a shock not only for the family but for us as a community. This is not a common occurrence in this area,” he said.

Police are investigating four counts of murder and an inquest docket has been opened.

THE MERCURY 

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