kids see mom killed

Mhlaba Memela and Sapa

Mhlaba Memela and Sapa

A Durban businesswoman who was killed in front of her two children yesterday morning, was a witness in a high-profile fraud case.

Her estranged husband and a family friend said after the shooting that Futhi Ncwane, 38, had feared for her life after transport department officials, implicated in the fraud case, had approached her and told her to change a statement she had made to the police.

Popo Ncwane, her estranged husband, said: "Futhi was a state witness in a fraud case involving the department of transport. She was living in fear."

Earlier, police spokesman Inspector Solomon Mbele said a man carrying a firearm, entered Ncwane's garden and confronted the domestic worker, who was hanging up washing.

The incident happened just before 6am at the family home in Mariannhill Park, Pinetown.

Ncwane's distraught mother Alvina Khumalo said her daughter was preparing the children's lunch for their return to school when the gunman struck.

"I heard the maid scream that there was a man with a gun demanding to see the owner of the house. He questioned why she was screaming and demanded money."

He then pushed the maid and the kids into the bedroom and demanded that Ncwane pay up.

"I hid behind a cupboard so that I could not be seen. My daughter instructed the maid to collect her purse and she handed over R70 to the man saying that was all she had. She told him the rest of her money was in the bank."

Khumalo heard the killer say: "I am going to kill you. There's nothing I can do with R70."

"I then heard three shots and saw my daughter collapse face down on to the floor." She said she looked up and saw the killer run outside. She knew instantly that her daughter was dead.

Khumalo said her grandsons Fezile, 12, and Yandisa, 7, are traumatised.

Popo Ncwane said: "There was a court interdict preventing me from entering this home. I was staying at Lamontville, but when I heard the news I drove and arrived here even before the police."

Shocked neighbours and friends gathered at the family home yesterday morning.

"The police arrived an hour and 40 minutes late. The ambulance only arrived afterwards. If police had come earlier, they would have arrested the suspect whom we saw hiking for a lift on the freeway," said one neighbour.

Police superintendent Vincent Mdunge denied police arrived late on the scene.