Durban - A mysterious unnamed woman, hitmen, threats over insurance policies and accusations of a biased investigating officer form the complicated web in the brutal murder of Merebank mother Charmaine Naidoo.
Naidoo, 32, had returned home in early February from the supermarket she ran in Wentworth when robbers entered the home she shared with her husband, Alvin “Inderesan” Maistry, 44, an employee at the Department of Labour.
The house was robbed and Naidoo was kidnapped. The robbers shoved her into her Toyota Yaris and drove to KwaMakhuta, where she was shot, stabbed and strangled. Her body was dumped and the car abandoned in Isipingo.
Police arrested Sifiso Joyisa for the robbery and murder, and he was sentenced to 40 years in jail after pleading guilty.
However, in his confession, Joyisa fingered Maistry as the mastermind behind the killing, as Maistry was believed to be the beneficiary of his wife’s insurance policies.
The other two accused are Bongani Manyathi and Mandlenkosi Jobe.
On Friday, in Maistry’s bail application, warrant officer Rajen Nagesar continued his testimony on the events that led to Maistry’s arrest and reasons Maistry should not be released on bail.
Nagesar said a key female witness did not want her identity revealed since someone had told her that Maistry had threatened her.
She was alleged to have said that should Maistry get bail, he would come after her to kill her.
The woman, described as a “friend for 10 years”, had known Maistry by the name of “Nazir” and she identified Maistry as the same person as Nazir in an identity parade.
She had left KwaZulu-Natal at the end of last year and had not been in contact with Maistry since.
The woman stated in an affidavit that she was approached last year by Maistry to hire a hitman, and she in turn introduced Jobe to him.
Police were informed via their witnesses that Maistry initially wanted his in-laws dead, then his wife’s sister, but then said he wanted his wife killed.
Jobe and Maistry had been communicating for several months, including around the time of Naidoo’s murder, as cellphone tracking revealed.
Despite continuous requests by Maistry’s advocate, Murray Pittman, for the identity of the woman to be revealed, Nagesar said she feared for her life and that of her family, because she was now seen to be co-operating with the police in the case against Maistry.
Pittman declared that the female witness’s affidavit was flawed, since Jobe and Maistry knew each other from years before.
A case of further intimidation was discovered by the police, said Nagesar, when he tried to find out what policies were in Naidoo’s name.
“We tried to get information on the insurance policies, but we reached a few dead ends,” said Nagesar, adding that the insurance broker was too afraid to give any information as he had been warned not to do so by two unidentified men.
“He was too afraid to testify and write an affidavit,” said Nagesar.
However, police established that the insurance policy had lapsed and no claim could be made.
There was no further elaboration on this evidence.
Pittman bore down on Nagesar during cross-examination and several times accused the officer of not being objective in his handling of the case.
He said he found Joyisa’s speedy guilty plea suspicious.
“The circumstances of the guilty plea of Joyisa are so suspicious, it reeks,” said Pittman.
Soon after Joyisa’s guilty plea, police received the affidavit from the female witness, and Maistry was then arrested.
Questions had been raised as to why Maistry had not immediately rushed home when he was informed of his wife’s abduction. Maistry had first pumped up a tyre on his car before going home.
Pittman questioned Nagesar as to why Naidoo’s brother’s statement was not taken on the day of the robbery, despite the brother being in the car with Maistry.
“He had a drug habit, so we didn’t want to rely on him,” said Nagesar.
Pittman said this once again showed that Nagesar was biased against his client, as even Naidoo’s brother would testify that he and Maistry arrived at the house within five minutes of being informed of the robbery and the abduction.
Maistry’s and Naidoo’s families both came to court.
Naidoo’s father, Rashid Narasiah, said he believed that Maistry was guilty. “I can understand why this female is afraid of him,” he said.
The bail application was adjourned due to time constraints, and Maistry will appear in court again on May 28.
Independent on Saturday