Durban - While thousands of KZN matrics will be celebrating their results on Tuesday, the extended Kandasamy family of Chatsworth will be in mourning, accepting the results posthumously for their murdered niece and cousin Melarisa Kandasamy.
Melarisa, 18, was a pupil at Crossmoor Secondary School. She scored five distinctions in her trials last year, and was expected to scoop the same this Tuesday.
Instead her body and that of her brother, Megandren, and mother, Mala, were cremated yesterday after a funeral attended by about 1 000 friends and relatives at the school in Chatsworth.
Melarisa had been accepted to study a BComm degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal this year.
However, her promising future was cut short when she, her mother, Mala, 41, an admin clerk at an engineering firm, and Megandren, 17, were beaten to death with a gada – a traditional Indian mace carried by the Hindu god Hanuman – at their home either on Saturday night or during the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving everyone baffled.
Her father, Rajan Kandasamy, 44, is a suspect in the murders and has appeared in court.
When the family failed to attend the memorial service on Sunday of close family members – recently wed couple Ashlee and Deepika Reddy, who were killed in an accident last month within 24 hours of being married – the alarm was raised.
Chatsworth SAPS found Melarisa and Megandren covered with blood on a bedroom floor, while Mala’s blood-soaked body was on the bed covered with a blanket.
Kandasamy could not be found. It was initially thought that he too had been killed.
He handed himself over to police, apparently persuaded by his extended family, on New Year’s Eve.
Almost 1 000 mourners packed the siblings’ school hall on Friday, where the traditional Hindu funeral was held, weeping and trying to understand what triggered the murders.
Rumours were circulating on Friday that in Kandasamy’s confession to police, he apparently said he caught his wife SMSing someone on her cellphone.
While this played on their minds, Kandasamy had just an hour before he appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court, requesting legal aid.
About a dozen people, bearing placards, called for Kandasamy to be given the stiffest sentence.
Kandasamy, neatly dressed in black pants and a shirt, though wearing flip flops, cut a meek figure in court.
The case was adjourned and Kandasamy will remain in custody at the Chatsworth police cells until Friday, where he is expected to apply for bail, which the State prosecutor indicated would be opposed.
Several family members, community members and friends of the siblings arrived early at court to watch the proceedings, and then left for the funeral.
One person called out “Die you bastard” when Kandasamy was being led back to the holding cells.
“I can’t understand why, we knew him for the last 20 years, he was a quiet person, kept to himself and spoke only when spoken to, no one knew there were problems but even so how could they have been killed that way?” said Ronnie Kallan, Mala’s uncle, who lives in Johannesburg.
Kallan said Rajan and Mala had gone out the previous Saturday evening with other family members, and they had seemed fine.
“There was no indication that there were family problems, we only heard rumours after the deaths, but we can’t understand what triggered this,” he said.
Dozens of pupils took a day from their holidays to attend the funeral of their classmates.
Holding roses, they lined the path to the school hall and, while some cried, others carried the coffins into the hall.
Vinay Motheeram, principal of the school, said it was incredibly sad that the lives of two pupils had been taken away. “Tuesday will be a very sad day for the school and the pupils when we look at the results and see Melarisa’s name and know she is not with us,” said Motheeram, adding that a memorial service would be held at the school this week.
KZN Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni also attended the funeral and said Melarisa’s certificate would be issued to her next of kin, posthumously.
“We are certain she would have passed with flying colours, and our country has been robbed of a bright person,” she said.
Mark Chinnasamy, a friend of Melarisa, said she was one of his closest friends.
“She was the epitome of everything nice in the world… she never told me anything about problems at home, her mom was so sweet and hospitable, and it’s going to be difficult next week when we get the results and she is not here to celebrate with us,” he said.
Trimaine Naidoo, a friend of Megandren, said he was always positive and would often snap his fingers, point at someone and say “smile”. “His other favourite saying was ‘Hakuna Matata’ and he joked he dreamt of winning the Lotto seven times. I am sad the world will not get to know him.”
Mala was described as a mother dedicated to her children and who nurtured her children into two loving people.
People streamed in from 11am to pay their last respects to the family, shedding tears amid the singing of religious songs to mark the departure of the dead before the last rites were performed by a local priest. The bodies were cremated at the Clare Estate Crematorium.
Visvin Reddy, former executive committee member of eThekwini, said the murders were brutal and called on the community to “rise up against abuse”.
“Whatever had gone on in the home, there is no basis for murder or abuse,” he said.
Logan Chetty, chairman of the Chatsworth Community Policing Forum, who had seen the bodies when they were discovered, said it was a brutal scene.
“How a father could have murdered his daughter I don’t know… I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. No man in his right mind would do this,” said Chetty. - Independent on Saturday