The heroic boyfriend, whose identity has not yet been disclosed, died at the scene and his girlfriend was taken to an undisclosed local hospital with severe injuries.

The attacks come after a week of national campaigns against the abuse of women and children.

The incident unfolded when the woman and her boyfriend were walking near the Umgeni River Bird Park on Friday evening. It is a popular walking and cycle trail.

Her boyfriend did his best to defend his girlfriend from being attacked, but was assaulted and killed by the gang who had earlier got out of a Quantum minibus taxi.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the boyfriend was certified dead at the scene by paramedics.

“The paramedics found the man with fatal injuries.

“There was nothing that they could do for him and he was declared dead.

“The woman was treated and taken to the hospital,” Vermaak said.

Police were hot on the heels of the suspects and appealed to the public for any information they might have on the whereabouts of the minibus taxi to assist them in bringing the suspects to book.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the police were still investigating and were hoping to make arrests soon.

“The investigations are continuing. We are appealing to anyone who might have information about the suspects to contact the local police station,” she said.

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda condemned the incident and urged police to work around the clock to bring the suspects to book before they continued their criminal activities elsewhere.

It was unfortunate that the incident happened after other incidents of abuse against women and children in the country, he said.

He was concerned by the allegations that the suspects were travelling in a minibus taxi, a commonly used mode of public transport.

“Following these allegations, we will be engaging with the leaders of the South African National Taxi Council in the province to discuss crimes that involve minibuses, and hopefully, find a solution so that such crimes do not escalate like in other provinces,” he said.

Kaunda urged the public to work with the police by reporting crime so that the perpetrators were caught.

Last week, the murder of 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena, whose body was found burnt beyond recognition in the deserted veld in Bramley, sparked outrage and social media disgust with the hashtag #MenAreTrash trending. Her boyfriend has been arrested.

Meanwhile, the provincial MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo Sunday condemned the unabated murder and rape of women in South Africa.

He was talking at the funeral of Grade 11 pupil Mbalenhle Magcaba whose body was found in the forest near her school last week, with her hands tied to her back.

Mbalenhle, a pupil at St Julius Secondary School, disappeared after attending a school sports event at Kwa-Ximba.

Police investigations established that she was raped and then strangled with her school tie.

Dhlomo, also the chairperson of the provincial Men’s Forum, said more needed to be done to accelerate the fight against violence on women and children by men “behaving less than even animals”.

“Male animals offer protection to female animals.

“Why do we do things to each other that even animal species don’t do?” Dhlomo asked.

Daily News