South Africa’s fractured societal fabric took another battering this week, when four children in Pinetown, KZN were found hanged in their home. Three of Sibusiso Mpungose’s children were aged between four and 10 years old, with a fourth victim – 16-year-old Ayakha Jiyane – killed in the same manner later in the day.
The bodies were found shortly after 14:30 on Tuesday afternoon, with the police issuing a statement on the later in the evening. They revealed that the father had deliberately taken his children out of school in the middle of the day, and his teenage daughter was killed some time afterwards.
Who is Sibusiso Mpungose?
Mpungose is the only suspect in the deplorable crime. It has been established that the younger children were his bilogical kids, but Jiyane was his stepdaughter. We also learned that the accused’s relationship with the victims’ mother had become incredibly strained, as the pair were getting divorced.
Testimonials from neighbours have been far from flattering: One local resident suggested that just 24 hours before the murders, Sibusiso Mpunhgose’s wife had made it public knowledge that her husband had been abusing her, and threatening to kill her.
KZN hanging case: Dad appears in court
Sibusiso Mpungose entered the courtroom looking dead behind the eyes. The gravity of his crime has revolted a large contingent of South Africans, who are demanding the strictest possible sentence for the suspect. There may have already been an early victory for the state, too.
The father has rejected an offer of bail, meaning he will stay in police custody until his trial begins on 9 October. No reason was specified, but the intense interest in this case has the potential to put Mpungose’s well-being in danger.
Sibusiso Mpungose to remain behind bars
Meanwhile, a memorial service for Jiyane took place on Friday at the teenager’s school. Her mother, left distraught by the killings, was also in attendance. Her classmates performed a powerful round of songs to honour her memory, as the entire Pinetown community demands justice for these heinous killings.