POLICE in Mtubatuba, northern Zululand, are appealing to locals to come forward with information that could lead to the arrest of the people behind the brutal slaying of a grandmother and her granddaughter.

Locals had accused Mamakazi Mkhwanazi, 60, and her 17-year-old granddaughter Thobile Mbatha of practising witchcraft.

The two were found burnt beyond recognition in their house in the Gunjaneni area of Mtubatuba last Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said spent cartridges were found in the yard.

He said the police's organised crime unit was now investigating the case.

"We call on anyone with information that might lead to an arrests to please come forward since this is a complex case as both victims were killed," Mdletshe said.

Local councillor Qhina Mkhwanazi (not related to the dead granny) said the killing came after an argument between Mkhwanazi and a neighbour over a crèche.

He said the altercation dated back to more than three months ago. The situation turned so bad that he was called in to a meeting involving the two feuding neighbours. This resulted in an agreement to hold another meeting January 9.

He said he received a phone call informing him that Mkhwanazi and Thobile had been burnt in their house.

"When I arrived there it was horrible. They were burnt beyond recognition, the councillor said.

"Neighbours admitted having heard gunshots and seeing flames, but decided not to act because they suspected Mkhwanazi of being a witch and of being behind the mysterious fires at her neighbour's home."

"We appeal to those who have information to please come forward to us, the leaders, so that those responsible can be brought to book," he said.

Meanwhile, a 39-year-old mentally disturbed man, Zwelihle Msweli from the Ogengele area, also in Mtubatuba, was due to appear in the KwaMsane magistrate's court late yesterday.

Mdletshe said Msweli was arrested after he was found digging up his brother's grave.

"A skeleton and clothes were found lying in the open. When relatives asked him why he had dug it up, he said he had seen visions that his brother was not lying peacefully.

"Police were called and they arrested him," Mdletshe said.