SHAILENDRA Sukhraj, the father of Sadia Sukhraj who was shot dead in a botched hijacking, was the first witness to testify in the trial yesterday, at the Durban High Court.   Doctor Ngcobo  African News Agency (ANA)
SHAILENDRA Sukhraj, the father of Sadia Sukhraj who was shot dead in a botched hijacking, was the first witness to testify in the trial yesterday, at the Durban High Court. Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)
SENI Mkhize is accused of Sadia Sukhraj’s murder in Chatsworth, Durban, last year.     Bongani Mbatha  African News Agency (ANA)
SENI Mkhize is accused of Sadia Sukhraj’s murder in Chatsworth, Durban, last year. Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - The last time Sadia Sukhraj’s father saw her alive was when the back door of his hijacked vehicle swung open as it sped away, after he had fired several shots at the car in a frantic bid to halt it.

“I only saw her when the driver reversed and crashed into the gate. The door flung open. I saw her bounce up. There’s a pavement before the driveway and gate and if you drive on it at speed, you obviously bump up,” said Shailendra Sukhraj to Judge Esther Steyn in the Durban High Court yesterday, where the man accused of his daughter’s murder is standing trial.

Seni Mkhize, 35, faces two counts of murder for the deaths of 9-year-old Sadia and his alleged accomplice, Siyabonga Bulose.

Mkhize and Bulose are alleged to have been armed when they accosted the 9-year-old girl and hijacked her father in Chatsworth, in May last year.

Bulose was killed as the duo attempted to flee from the scene of the botched hijacking.

After Sukhraj finished testifying, Steyn asked him whether he could see inside his car as it sped away or had heard Sadia’s screams.

“I didn’t hear her. When these things happen, they happen so quickly,” he told her.

Leading evidence, Sukhraj said the girl was in the back seat as he and his wife went into his in-law’s home to drop off their 6-month-old son.

Sukhraj said he was faced with a silver barrel as a man with a beard stood by the driver’s door, pointing a gun at him and demanding his keys.

He said after he tossed the keys to him, he slowly backed into the house, where he reached for his own gun.

Sukhraj fired several shots at his vehicle, emptying the gun’s magazine, as it reversed up and out the driveway of the Himalaya Road house.

“When I drew the gun, I had many thoughts that crossed my mind. I had a family and my primary concern was my child, who was in that car,” he said.

Sukhraj said, in a matter of seconds, his mind had drifted to terrifying thoughts such as losing his daughter, rape, mutilation, human trafficking, as well as murder.

“I then began opening fire in the direction of the driver because I wanted the car to come to a halt,” he said.

The next time he saw Sadia, she lay lifeless on a stretcher at the Chatsmed Hospital.

During cross-examination, Sukhraj said the hijackers never fired back as he fired at them.

Mkhize’s attorney, Senzo Masondo, reading from Mkhize’s opening statement said his client pleaded not guilty to all charges and was an innocent passer-by.

Masondo said Mkhize was not associated with any person who robbed Sukhraj of his car, and also distanced himself from being the cause of Bulose’s death.

He said, on that day, Mkhize had walked from where he lived in Savannah Park to 1104, an informal settlement in Shallcross, to buy marijuana.

While walking back home, Mkhize was apprehended by two Indian men and taken to a group of people who had gathered.

“I know nothing about any robbery and murder,” his statement reads.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Daily News