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Mother kills 3 young children, eldest runs for help but cannot save family

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene said the tragedy has shaken the community of Lusikisiki. File photo.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene said the tragedy has shaken the community of Lusikisiki. File photo.
Image: John Acocks, James Puttick

A mother in the Eastern Cape killed three of her children with poison before committing suicide despite pleas from her oldest child to desist. 

Four year-old Iyapha Ntsizela, Phila, eight, and Inga, 12, all girls, died in the early hours on Monday.

This is the second murder-suicide of this kind in the Eastern Cape. Last month a mother from the Tholeni area near Butterworth killed her three daughters and herself, allegedly because her poverty meant she could not care for them. 

Police spokesperson Col Priscilla Naidu said the preliminary investigation in this week's case also “suggests poverty may have been a motivating factor for the tragedy”.

Veziwe Ntsizela, 41, woke her four children at 2am on Monday, telling them they should join her in prayer.

She took them to the forest in the Luzuphu locality where they were forced to drink pills.

Her 14-year-old resisted and managed to run away.

The child sought help from a nearby homestead and police were notified.

It was too late, however, with officers finding the bodies of the children.

The mother's body was found the next day, about 100m from the children, in dense bushes.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene said the tragedy has shaken the community of Lusikisiki to its core.

“If the motive was allegedly driven by poverty, this raises a profound concern about the struggles some members of our community face daily.

“This is a stark reminder of the importance of reaching out to those in need, offering support, and fostering a sense of family within our community.

“Poverty should never drive anyone to such a desperate and tragic act and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims.”

TimesLIVE

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