By playing dead, 15-year-old Tracy Sebati was able to save herself from intruders who killed her parents and two siblings in their Mmakau home on Tuesday evening.
Constable Solomon Lucky Sebati, 41, Mmatshepo, 40, Quinton, 3, and Tshegofatso, 22, who was seven months pregnant, were killed.
Neighbours said they heard gunshots at about 10.30pm, but stayed indoors, fearing crossing paths with the shooters.
“I first heard four shots, then silence. Three more shots were fired, followed by screeching tyres and a car hitting the gate. After a few minutes, we heard the little girl screaming and shouting for help, and that’s when we unlocked our doors and went out to see what had happened,” said a neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous.
“We’ve known them for a while, but we couldn’t help because we feared for our own safety; that’s why we waited until we heard the killers leave before we went out to see what was happening.”
Family representative Nick Modikwe said he was happy his niece was able to think swiftly while under pressure, as it had saved her life.
Her uncle Peter Ratlhagane said the family were still confused as to why anyone would kill his nephew and his entire family in such a ruthless manner.
“We’re devastated because we don’t understand the motive behind these killing. Perhaps if the police find the killers then we will have an opportunity to ask them why they did such a thing to Lucky.
“He was a community builder and loved to sing in the choir. We have no idea why anyone would want to hurt him or his family. The surviving daughter is naturally shocked and confused about this whole thing,” he said.
Ratlhagane said the teenager had been sedated by doctors.
Relatives gathered outside the homestead grew anxious as the police took a while to finish working on the crime scene.
They wanted to be let inside to start preparing for the funerals.
“We just want to be able to go inside and clean up their home. Our main concern is for the police to let us know when we can have the bodies so we can plan their funerals because it’s not just one person who was killed,” said one family member.
North West provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane said four counts of murder and house robbery following the incident were being investigated.
He said the suspects allegedly gained access to the family’s home and shot the constable and his family and thereafter fled in a Chrysler Voyager.
The vehicle was abandoned in bushes at the Black Rock Section. The motive for the shooting was unknown and no arrests had been made by last night.
“We condemn the merciless killing of an SAPS member and his family. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book,” said Motswenyane.
“Our heartfelt condolences go to their families and relatives.”