Gunmen stormed a homestead in a township outside the South African city of Pietermaritzburg and ambushed a family, killing 10 people, police said on Friday.
Police did not give a motive for the shooting, but said in a statement that they had arrested two suspects believed to have been involved in the incident, in which seven women and three men died.
A third suspect escaped, while a fourth was fatally shot when confronted by officers, the police said. The identity of the suspects was not immediately known.
The youngest of the victims was a 13-year-old boy.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest murder rates, with about 20,000 murders recorded every year out of a population of 60 million.
“It’s a crime scene, terrible. Too many people were lost here,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said in comments broadcast on public broadcaster SABC from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Cele said police management needed to sit down to talk about whether the province needed more police resources.
A Reuters photojournalist at the scene of the shooting saw a mortuary van in the yard of the homestead into which bodies of those killed were being loaded on a stretcher. Worried members of the community looked on.
According to campaign group Gun Free South Africa, 30 people on average are shot and killed every day in the country, where about 4.5 million guns are registered.
Gunmen killed eight people and wounded three others at a birthday party in the city of Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape in January, following a spate of mass gun attacks last year.