By Anita Dangazele
The Eastern Cape community has been left reeling from shock after four brothers were shot, three of them fatally, in the early hours of Tuesday at an initiation school in Ngqamakwe.
Two of the deceased brothers were initiates, while the third was their elder brother, who was also their traditional nurse.
The fourth brother, who survived the shooting, was also a traditional nurse.
Spokesperson Colonel Siphokazi Mawisa said their grandfather was alerted at around 01:15 to the shooting in the Ngcwazi Administrative Area in Ngqamakwe.
“All three deceased are brothers. However two of them, aged 18 years old, were initiates while the third aged 26 years old was not an initiate. In total four brothers were shot (three died),” Mawisa said.
Provincial spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said medical personnel were dispatched to the scene, while forensic investigators have removed the bodies for further investigation.
He said while the motive for the killings is still unknown, police have begun investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Department of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson, Mamkeli Ngam, confirmed that the department is working with the police to collect all information before further information can be disclosed in the media.
“What has happened is a very serious concern to the department. However, we are still in the process of gathering all the relevant information and facts surrounding this unfortunate incident,” said Ngam.
Nkosi Mpumalanga Gwadiso, the Chairperson of the EC House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased.
“This is barbaric… They found them vulnerable and killed them mercilessly,” Gwadiso said.
At least 20 initiates died during the 2023 winter initiation season — a sharp increase from the 11 deaths recorded during the same period last year.
Three initiates have been confirmed dead so far in the 2023 summer season initiation. Two of the deceased brothers as well as an initiate who was allegedly assaulted with sticks by his traditional nurse in Lusikisiki.
The names of the deceased have not yet been released.
The suspect is unknown at this stage and the motive is yet to be established. Police are appealing to anyone who can assist in the investigation to contact SAPS Nqamakwe on 073 272 9874 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or the nearest police station.
Pictured above: Traditional initiates.
Image source: Facebook