The man accused of butchering an Eastern Cape mother and her five children with an axe on Tuesday night has been arrested

Eastern Cape police commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga, said the arrest had come as a result of the swift action by a multi-disciplinary team of investigators.

Ntshinga said the 32-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night in Ginsberg, King William’s Town.

The gruesome discovery of the lifeless bodies of Nomzamo Mhlanti, 42, and her children – Azakhiwe, 10, Yibanathi, 8, five-year-old twins Wineka and Thoko, and six-month-old Luphumlo – was made by the dead mother’s eldest son Balungile Mhlanti, 16, on Wednesday morning, according to DispatchLive.

The arrest follows after Ntshinga ordered an immediate activation of the 72-hour plan to arrest the perpetrator.

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Ntshinga said the plan had made the work of the investigating team “very easy”.

Ntshinga added that the investigators had received information which led them to a flat allegedly belonging to a relative of the accused in Ginsberg, where they found and arrested the 32-year-old man hiding there.

It is alleged that the suspect, who cannot be identified until his court appearance, had escaped from Dabekweni Locality in Kwaaiman to find refuge in King William’s Town.

“Details on how he found his way to Ginsberg are still under investigation. The suspect is yet to be interviewed by the detectives in order to establish a comprehensive truth behind the tragic axe murders of his wife and five children. At the time of the arrest, the suspect is believed to have been preparing to flee South Africa back to his home country,” said Ntshinga in a statement.

“I am truly excited at this major breakthrough by the integration of capable and proficient detectives. Their sleepless nights of investigation have paid dividends. The suspect must now face the law.

“Crimes against women and children are a top priority of the South African Police Service, therefore our communities must not only hear this but must see its manifestations in the outcomes of the work that we do,” Ntshinga said.

Once he is charged, the man is expected to appear in the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court on Monday on murder charges.

Ntshinga has expressed gratitude to members of the public who supported the police investigations until the arrest of the suspect.

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