RESIDENTS of Gwanda are in shock following the death of a 68-year-old woman who was killed by an axe wielding man who had a score to settle with the woman’s daughter and grandson.
The woman, Emilia Ncube, who has been described by many as warm-hearted was sleeping in her house in Spitzkop North suburb when her daughter, Ms Sandisiwe Ndlovu, and her maternal grandson, Mr Aron Zulu rushed into the house while being pursued by the suspect at around 12 midnight last Tuesday.
They locked the door, but their assailant went on to chop the door with an axe to gain entry.
He allegedly struck Ncube once on the head with an axe and also struck Mr Zulu four times on the head.
Sandisiwe managed to escape through a window and alerted the police.
While the incident occurred, Ncube’s two nieces who live next door said they could only listen to the screams and wails from their aunt while indoors as they feared being attacked as well.
They tried to advance towards their aunt’s house, but her assailant threatened to attack them as well.
Ncube’s niece Ms Grace Ndlovu said she recalls her aunt shout out loud “manje mina ngifelani, ngoneni” (why am I being killed, what offence have I committed) while she screamed in pain and after that she went silent.
The suspect, Albert Ncube (33), has since been arrested.
“It was after 11 pm when I heard voices coming from my aunt’s house.
When I went outside I saw Aron and Sandisiwe by the gate and it appeared that they were having an altercation with someone.
They started throwing stones and then they fled towards the gate and locked the door.
A man who was holding an axe followed them.
He saw me and my sister and threatened to attack us if we got involved,” she said.
Grace added: “The man started chopping the door with an axe and went in.
At that time we were now in the house out of fear of being attacked.
We then heard screaming and I remember my aunt shouting out loud saying “manje mina ngifelani, ngoneni” and then she was silent.
Aron also shouted out loud saying “bhudas ungenzi njalo, bhudas ungenzi njalo.”
She said she was terrified and did not have the courage to step out of the house out of fear of being attacked.
Grace said she only came out of the house after the police had arrived.
She said when she heard her aunt scream she wanted to go out to check on her, but she did not have the courage. Grace said they now lived in fear within the community because of high level of crime.
Ncube’s other niece Ms Tracy Dube said when they walked into her aunt’s house they found her lifeless body lying in a pool of blood. She said they had lost a mother figure as a family.
Ms Dube said her aunt was a loving and kind woman and did not deserve to be butchered in that manner.
“My aunt played a motherly role not only in my life, but the lives of many people in our family.
We have suffered a huge loss as a family.
She has left a huge gap that will be hard to fill.
The last words which she uttered before she died keep ringing in my head.
I wish there was something that we could have done to protect her but we were powerless,” she said.
A leader in the African Apostolic Church, Ms Assumpta Maridzi, where Ncube was a member said she was still trying to come to terms with the passing of the old woman.
She said she last saw Ncube last Tuesday at around 7pm at a prayer service not knowing it would be the last time she saw her.
She said Ncube was a committed member of the church who loved doing God’s work.
Ms Maridzi said Ncube will be greatly missed by the church.
Ward 5 Councillor, Gilbert Dube said the violence which was being recorded in his area was alarming.
He said most cases were being perpetrated by machete gangs believed to be illegal gold panners operating in the area.
Clr Dube said it was saddening that this time an incident had cost the life of an innocent elderly woman.
“As a community we are shocked and saddened by the loss of such as an elderly woman because of crime.
She died a brutal death.
There is a need for heavy police presence in our area because the level of crime is very high.
Some of the crimes occur because this area doesn’t have electricity and robbers take advantage of this,” he said.
Clr Dube said the Gwanda Local Peace Committee has engaged the police so that police bases can be established at Njanji Business Centre and another at Red cross Business Centre which are frequented by machete gangs.
He said the local peace committee was also crafting measures to tackle crime which was rife in the district.
Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the incident which occurred on Tuesday at around 12 midnight.
“The suspect who was carrying an axe met Mr Aron Zulu and Ms Sandisiwe Ndlovu who were coming from Red cross Business Centre.
He flashed at them with the light of his cell phone and they complained.
This didn’t go down well with the suspect who started attacking the pair.
The two fled to their home, but the suspect followed and chopped down the door with an axe,” she said.
Insp Mangena added: “The suspect struck a 68-year-old woman, Emilia Ncube once on the head with the axe and she died on the spot.
He also struck Aron Zulu with an axe four times on the head before fleeing the scene.
The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene.
Zulu is admitted to the United Bulawayo Hospitals where he is in a critical condition.”
She urged members of the public to avoid moving around at night to avoid endangering their lives.
Insp Mangena said people should not move around carrying dangerous weapons.
– Sunday News