Durban – "Mummy, I am scared. He is calling Tracker for information on my whereabouts.”
These were Annelene Pillay’s last words to her mother, Charmaine Pillay, just minutes before she was gunned down outside her place of work, allegedly by a man known to her.
Annelene, 27, from Chatsworth, who worked as a customer care controller at a Rossburgh logistics company, sustained five gunshot wounds as she was walking down a staircase from her workplace to her car.
She apparently knew that her stalker, a jilted lover, was on his way there and tried to make a dash for safety.
CCTV footage of the brutal murder has gone viral on social media, and shows a black car pulling into the driveway as Annelene descends the staircase. A man jumps out of the car, runs under the staircase and opens fire.
Annelene, who was about halfway down, is seen falling to the bottom of the stairs. A man, possibly a colleague, races past her to alert security, but the gunman had already fled the scene.
Annelene died at the scene, yet another victim of abuse and violence against women in South Africa.
A 31-year-old man was charged with murder and appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. He was remanded and is scheduled to appear again tomorrow.
Recalling the tragic events, her tearful mother said Annelene had known that something bad was going to happen to her.
“There was something in the tone of her voice that sounded like she knew he was coming after her. I told her to be brave,” said Charmaine.
She said minutes after the call from her daughter, she received a call from police saying Annelene had been involved in an “accident” at work.
“Our conversation about him came back into my mind, but I tried not to think about it. During the drive to her workplace, I sat in the car reassuring myself that she may have only been hurt.
“As we drove into the parking area, the first thing I saw was the foil covering her body and I broke down,” she said. “I knew he came after her.”
Shantal Naidu said her sister (Annelene) had finished work and walked out of the office with a colleague.
“The colleague went back into the office because he forgot his laptop. As she walked toward her car, the shooter drove into the parking lot. She saw his vehicle and tried to run back into the office, but he shot at her and then sped off,” she said.
“We cannot believe that he went this far.”
She said Annelene had dated the suspect for about 10 years, having met him through mutual friends.
“The first time Annelene broke up with him was three years into their relationship because he had hit her, but a few months later they got back together. We told her to be careful and she reassured us that she was fine.”
Naidu said the family had met him briefly on a few occasions.
“We never really got to know him well. She always kept him away from us. We noticed that she was always on edge, she never went out with other people. When they were not together he would phone our home landline to check on her.”
Naidu said that, about six months ago, her sister mustered the courage to leave him for good.
“Those six months were the happiest of her life, but even though they were not together he would still try to contact her. She even changed her number but he managed to get it.”
Naidu said her sister told them about the alleged abuse, possessiveness and the threats he made to kill her.
“She never thought he would actually do it so she never reported him.”
While struggling to come to terms with their loss, the family is also only now learning more about her.
“While going through her belongings we found so many business plans,” said Naidu, explaining her sister had dreamed of one day opening a restaurant and even a spa.
“After matriculating from Meadowlands Secondary, my sister studied business management and human resources at Oval International. She was planning on studying further, but all her dreams have been snatched away because of one person.”
Naidu described her sister as a young, vibrant woman who did not deserve to die.
“Other women in similar relationships need to learn from incidents like this.
“No matter what, get out and seek help.”
Police spokesman Captain Nqobile Gwala said the shooting was still being investigated.