JUST hours after engaging with a senior Jeffreys Bay police officer over domestic violence on Wednesday, a mother of six was gunned down by her enraged husband while clutching her five-month-old baby.
Cynthia Zumani, 36, of Roman Street in the Pellsrus suburb of Jeffreys Bay, was shot at nearly point-blank range in the forehead shortly after 7pm by her husband of seven years, Innocent, who then turned the firearm on himself.
In a strong indication that the incident was premeditated, and substantiated by both police and family members yesterday, Zumani had started work at 6pm but returned home at about 7pm. He shot his wife shortly afterwards.
The bodies of the couple were found by family members who heard the two shots from where they live nearby.
Zumani, aged about 35, was employed as a security guard at G4S security company in Jeffreys Bay. A 9mm firearm was found in the room, where family members yesterday described finding Cynthia in almost a kneeling position on a bed, slumped over her baby, Ethan, who was still in her arms.
Infuriated family of the dead woman accused the police of failing in their duties, claiming that Cynthia, her aunt Trofosa Terrblanche, 49, and the couple’s 18-year-old son, Renzo, had approached police earlier on Wednesday to lay a complaint against Zumani, but were fobbed off. Renzo was allegedly threatened with pepper spray.
Police have denied the claims.
“We went there with Renzo and the police did not want to listen,” Terrblanche said.
“They threatened Renzo with pepper spray. We told them that he [Zumani ] had threatened Cynthia with his gun many times and they would not listen. If they had listened and had taken his gun away, this would not have happened.”
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Gerda Swart disputed the allegations.
“The deceased couple had an interview with the acting station commander, Captain Christopher Demingo. None of the parties wanted to open up any cases.
“We are not aware of the allegations around the pepper spray, but the complainants are more than welcome to lay a complaint and we will investigate them.”
Tearful family spokeswoman Cynthia Desne Widsechut, 29, said one of couple’s young sons had been standing at the window outside his parent’s bedroom when the shooting occurred.
“He was looking through the window when his father saw him and told him to go away. As he turned away, his father cocked the gun and fired two shots,” she said.
Widsechut, who said Cynthia had been employed at the Hip Shop in the Fountain Mall in the village, described her as a friendly and lovely person.
“This just feels so unreal. Her husband was very jealous and there were always fights. He was obsessed.
“Cynthia comes from Port Elizabeth originally and Innocent comes from Durban. But they have been married and living here for seven years,” Widsechut said.
She said the family had received some counselling and the children would be sent to stay with their grandmother in Kleinskool.
Lindsay Ziehl, who runs Yokhuselo Haven for abused women and victims of domestic violence in Port Elizabeth, described the incident as extremely tragic.
She said domestic violence, which affected men and women, was a major problem in South Africa.
“In terms of the perpetrator here, there are patterns where people who work in security or policing environments have become involved in this type of behaviour.
“There should be constant debriefings, trauma counselling and general counselling for occupations such as policemen and security guards,” she said.
In March last year, Nelphelo Ramncwana, 36, also of Jeffreys Bay, was gunned down by her former boyfriend, a policeman, who was in a jealous rage at the time. Ramncwana had begged police to assist her a day before she was shot.
This followed an earlier incident in January when former police officer Stephanus Rautenbach, 48, shot dead his estranged wife, Warrant Officer Tessa Steyn, 43, before turning the gun on himself in Rocklands outside Port Elizabeth.