Major-General Bheki Langa, acting Provincial Commissioner for KwaZulu-Natal, welcomed the life sentences handed down to the men found guilty of murdering five people in the Empakelweni area in Ceza in April 2016.
"These criminals will spend the rest of their lives in prison for brutally killing five members of the Zondo family at Ceza during 2016," Langa said.
The Pongola Regional Court convicted and sentenced Ayanda Khumalo, 25, and Siyabonga Buthelezi, 34, to five terms of life imprisonment each for five counts of murder, in addition to a 10-year prison term each for attempted murder, a five-year term for arson and a further 15-year term for possessing an unlicensed firarm.
Khumalo additionally received a one-year term for possessing unlicensed ammunition.
A third accused, Siyabonga "Gwinya" Xulu, 32, was found not guilty on the murder and arson charges, but was sentenced to 15 years for possessing an unlicensed firearm and three years for possessing unlicensed ammunition.
Khumalo and Buthelezi were found guilty of murdering Khululiwe Buthelezi, 35, Mpandlana Zondo and is wife Philisiwe, and two of their grandchildren – Vangeli, 2, and Simphiwe, 4 – in their home in April 2016. Their home was set alight after the attack.
Five people died at the scene, while a sixth survived with gunshot wounds.
Major-General Langa also praised the Provincial Organised Crime Unit for their efforts in ensuring that the court was provided with overwhelming evidence which led to the conviction of the accused.
"Our ballistics and forensic experts also played a pivotal role in collecting all the necessary evidence from the crime scene," the acting provincial police commissioner said.
"We also wish to thank the key witness in this case who was so brave to come forward and led concrete evidence that assisted in the conviction of the criminals."