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Thirteen members of the Mazubane family were found dead in their Dingleton home on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.
Police suspect the deaths were caused by the consumption of a fatal herbal concoction.
Councillor Sicelo Nxumalo described the scene as the worst he has ever seen.
"When we arrived there on Sunday afternoon, bodies were scattered all over.
"On the floor, there were containers full of muti and another container had a concoction mixed with eggs."
It looked as though the family had held a ritual, but no one could confirm that because all those who were present are dead.
"Only two boys survived because they were not home at the time," said Nxumalo.
"I have never seen such a thing. It was the most horrifying sight of my life," he said.
Another resident, S'fundo Ngwane, said the scene at the home was terrifying.
He said among the deceased was a woman with a baby on her back.
He said a neighbour had suspected that something was not right and called the local induna who, after inspecting the scene, called the police.
Superintendent Zandra Wiid said the police were investigating the cause of death, but suspected they had been killed by a concoction or muti they ingested.
She said the Mazubanes had been carrying out a regular ritual, taking herbal medicine, when they started collapsing one by one.
"The bodies were found in the house, and among the deceased was a traditional healer.
"It is alleged that the healer gave them a herbal concoction that is suspected to be the cause of their deaths," said Wiid.
Wiid said among the deceased were a 17-year-old trainee healer and a two-week-old infant.
"The deceased include four boys, aged two, three, four and seven, a 21-year-old man, four women in their 30s and a mother and a father, both 55 years old."