Police have discovered a backyard gun factory in Ndwede, north of Durban and arrested the alleged gun-maker after the brutal slaying of a 55-year-old woman.
A 21-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly shot dead his girlfriend's mother with a home-made pump action shotgun, allegedly created at the factory.
Dombi Irene Gumbi, 55, was asleep when her daughter's boyfriend entered her home in Ndwedwe through a window and then allegedly shot her at close range and fled.
He was apparently angry because she had confronted him over his failure to support his child who is her grandchild.
Police arrested three people - including the gunman, a man suspected to be a gun manufacturer, and a traditional healer who was later released.
The alleged killer was shot and wounded by police when he violently tried to evade arrest and is under police guard in hospital. One police officer was shot and injured during the shoot-out.
Police said they were investigating his possible involvement in another murder. kidnapping and rape of a previous girlfriend.
The Ndwendwe community was fuming over and shocked by the brutality of the murder.
Police said Gumbi's face was so disfigured by the shot that the pathologist conducting the post-mortem could not pin-point what - beyond the bullet wounds, had caused the death.
Gumbi was asleep with her daughter Busisiwe, 19, her six-week-old granddaughter, and her son Zakhele, 16, when she met her cruel fate.
Busisiwe said her mother had argued with her boyfriend a day before the murder over his failure to support and maintain their child. The family was solely dependent on Gumbi for its livelihood.
"My mother was angry with him because he had not once made financial support to our child. She told him not to visit her house again.
"He threatened her, but we didn't think he was serious about it," she said.
Her mother's pension grant to put food on the table and she was the one that kept the family together.
"I am unemployed and my brother goes to school. Now we have nothing."
Ndwedwe police spokesman Captain Sfundiswa Hlophe said they had been looking for the suspect for a long time.
Hlophe said police had arrested the traditional healer who had apparently been called to do a cleansing ceremony on the suspect.
"We found another home-made gun, pipes, planks and drills to make guns at his home," said Hlophe.
"Gumbi's forehead and face had been blown to pieces. Her eyes and jaw were on the floor and parts of her brain were scattered all over.
Meanwhile, the death has caused the family an immediate problem. They cannot afford to bury their mother.
They death has ignited fears of vigilantes with some community members calling for swift justice even if it meant police murdering crime suspects.
An elderly woman said: "We want police to kill people like this. The fact that this suspect was only injured is worrying."