Child finds uncle hanged after girlfriend found shot

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

An eight-year-old boy discovered his uncle hanging from the ceiling of his bedroom yesterday.

The boy had been sent by his grandmother to wake his uncle. He came back from his errand to ask why his uncle "had fallen asleep hanging in the air".

Velangesihle Mbatha, 25, of Mtubatuba, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, was found dead shortly after the police discovered his girlfriend's body not far from her home. She had been shot dead.

Police suspect that Mbatha killed his girlfriend, Slindile Khumalo, 22, and then committed suicide.

The grandmother told the police that she laughed when her grandson told her what he thought he had seen. She went to the bedroom "to see what all the fuss was about". She found her son hanged.

Mbatha was a well-known taxi driver in the area and was popular with the ladies. His death has left his family and friends puzzled and in shock.

His younger sister, Zandile, said the family became concerned when her brother did not wake up early for work as usual.

"My nephew is traumatised. He has no idea what has happened to his favorite uncle.

"He started crying as he watched the body being loaded into the van," she said.

The police were called to the scene and found a pair of bloody shoes and a cellphone in Mbatha's car.

Police spokesman Jabulani Mdletshe said the discovery of the phone helped the police to identify the body of the woman they had found earlier.

"Mbatha's family identified both the shoes and the cellphone as that of his girlfriend, which led us to believe that Mbatha killed his girlfriend before committing suicide," Mdletshe said.

Khumalo's body was found in a bush not far from her home in Mpukunyoni early yesterday morning.

She had four gunshot wounds, three in her left shoulder and one in the head.

Mdletshe said the gun had not been found.

Mbatha's sister, Zandile, said the couple had been seeing each other since 2002.

She said they would often fight about "Mbatha's cheating habits".

"My bother was a taxi driver. He had lots of girlfriends and Slindile would fight with him when she caught him with another woman."

Both families are in the dark as to what might have trigged Mbatha to brutally kill his lover and then take his own life.

"I cannot think of any reason," Zandile said.