DURBAN – A 63-year-old man in the Mahlabathini area of Ulundi, in northern KwaZulu-natal, is alleged to have shot dead his two sons and wounded his estranged wife in a dispute over a new bed.

The man shot dead his sons, and wounded his estranged wife, another son and a neighbour before killing himself on Saturday.

Reports from the Induna in the area, Celi Zungu, suggest that the man was estranged from his wife and there had also been allegations that he had abused his estranged wife.

“The brief history that we have gathered from the surviving family members is that the husband had been abusive towards his estranged wife to the point that the sons intervened. At some point in the past they told their father they will not tolerate the abuse directed at their mother,” he said.

The sons did not live with their mother as they had their own homes and others worked outside of Ulundi but the mother had remained in the original home, he said..

The man no longer lived at that house as he had another wife but still had access to the property as his tools were there.

“On the day in question, the sons bought their mother a bed and groceries. The husband was furious about the bed and told them he did not want the bed in ‘his’ house,” said Zungu.

The sons engaged with their father and thought they had reached a compromise with him to keep the bed in one of the rooms at the house, but the violence erupted later and the man shot dead his two sons, he said.

The other son confronted the father and was also shot, but survived and was taken to hospital. The man’s estranged wife and a neighbour were also injured.

Zungu pleaded for help for the family for assistance with burial preparations, saying they are not a well-off family.

The police said they had opened an inquest docket along with charges of murder and attempted murder. They said two people were shot dead and the suspect also killed himself.

“It is alleged that on May 28 at 5.30pm, a 63-year-old man shot five people and then turned the gun on himself,” said the police.

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