Durban - Fifteen years after uMdloti businessman Deenadayalan Govender was murdered, the man convicted of his murder eight years ago, Pranesh Heralall, has exhausted all attempts to stay out of prison and handed himself over to the prison authorities last Monday.
But Govender’s family say they have not received justice just yet.
Govender’s widow, Selvie Govender, said her relief that Heralall had finally handed himself to prison authorities was short-lived when she heard he had also made a Supreme Court of Appeal application to appeal against both his conviction and sentence.
“I cannot say that justice has been served because he has not accepted that the courts convicted him. I am, however, happy with how the courts have handled the case, from the conviction handed down by the high court to the dismissal of his appeal in the Pietermaritzburg High Court,” she said.
Govender said she was surprised to hear Heralall had handed himself over. “There is nothing to rejoice about him going to prison just yet because with the Supreme Court of Appeal application is still pending, anything is possible. I trust the justice system, but until that decision is made, I cannot say justice has been served for my family,” she said.
Heralall, 47, handed himself over at Westville Prison after his bail application was dismissed in the Pietermaritzburg High Court by KZN Judge President Achmat Jappie in September.
Heralall was a free man until last week, although the Durban High Court had convicted him of murdering his business partner and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He was seen at the Durban High Court on Wednesday, escorted by his wife, when he handed himself over to prison officials.
Govender was shot and killed at a construction site at Fairview Road, where he was working on July 16, 2004.
Heralall and his hitman, Khethukuthala “Bobo” Chamane, were found guilty of the murder in April 2011. During the trial, it emerged that Heralall had hired Chamane to kill Govender to cash in on a business insurance policy of almost R600000.
Chamane was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment and died before his appeal could be heard.
Govender said her family was left with nothing after her husband's death.
She said her husband's business was doing well at first. “My husband was a builder and started a construction company in 2002. Later he entered into a joint venture with Heralall, who was a plumber. At the time of his death, the business was not doing well anymore. I do not know what went wrong.
"When he died, we lost the business and a source of income,” she said.
Fortunately she was employed at the municipality and able to raise her two children. On February 23, 2014, she took early retirement after being involved in a car accident that killed her mother Ammurdarnal Moodley, 88, and her sister Devanammah Patchappen, 59. Her car was involved in an accident with a Ford Figo driven by taxi owner Reecel Smith. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, of which two years were suspended, in August.
“I have been unfortunate in life. The two people who were my support system after my husband's death, my mother and sister, were killed. I am grateful for my children who are looking after me."