THE family of a Mpumalanga man accused of hacking his live-in partner to death with a panga claim he has tarnished their "good" name.

Relatives of Lucas Seswike of Lefiso village near Marapyane said they could not understand what drove him to commit murder.

"They always fought but what happened on Saturday was worse," the accused's sister, Jane Seswike, said yesterday.

The sister, who lives two houses away from where her brother killed his live-in partner, Gladys Makola, told Sowetan that she was shocked when she was woken up at about 4am by neighbours who said her brother had killed his partner.

"When I got there I found that police and bystanders had already arrived and he was in a police van," she said.

"His partner had already been certified dead and there was blood all over the house."

Makola, of Tshikanosi village in the Moutse area of Limpopo, had been living with Seswike for almost 11 years and they had four children.

"Their relationship had been on the rocks for a long time," Jane Seswike said. "They always fought and Gladys would pack her bags and go to stay with her parents. But she would return a few days later.

"Last year Lucas beat her up so badly that she laid assault charges with the police but later withdrew them after he apologised."

Police spokesperson Sergeant Hastings Chaane said Seswike was once arrested for assaulting his partner .

"He was released a day after his arrest after Gladys withdrew the case," she said.

Chaane said according to Seswike's youngest child Makola was sleeping with the children when Seswike called her to the main bedroom.

"A few minutes later an argument ensued. Seswike allegedly grabbed a panga and hacked her several times."

Seswike appeared in the Temba magistrate's court yesterday on a murder charge and will appears on Tuesday for a bail application.