It has been a week of see-saw emotions for Ganas after her story appeared in the Independent on Saturday last weekend.
Her husband, Nathan, was shot dead after he ran out of their house to save her during an attempted hijacking.
Momentum declined to pay out his life insurance after his murder, citing undisclosed raised blood sugar levels.
While this was legally correct, the insurer’s stance was regarded as shocking by South Africans, who took to social media platforms to express their outrage.
This was particularly with regard to the cause of death and the reason to decline being in no way connected.
On Tuesday evening, under a storm of media pressure, Momentum did an about-turn. It said it would settle the claim with the Ganas family, stating it would pay an amount equal to the death benefit (limited to a maximum of R3million) in the case of violent crime, regardless of previous medical history.
In an interview with the family on Wednesday morning, Ganas said that while her focus would next be directed towards getting justice for Nathan, they can now spend a few days collecting their energy.
“I have spent the last year and eight months pursuing this. There have been so many moments when I felt gutted and it was very stressful gathering all that information together.”
She recalled the family’s last holiday, two weeks before Nathan died, as one of their happiest memories.
“We went to Winklespruit and I remember one particular day there, he was so happy, he even went for a swim - I love swimming and always used to joke with him about it. He was like a big teddy bear, always humorous and making jokes. We scattered his ashes in Winklespruit.
“I was so dependent on Nathan and it has been so hard since he died. I’ve been trying to do all the things he used to do with kids, including taking them fishing this year.
“My kids have been so responsible and mature, they have comforted me at times and that gave me the courage to carry on,” she said.
Her son Jaden, 15, described his father as incredibly kind, saying “he was always wanting to help people”.
His sister Carmen, 12, who was injured during the shooting as bullets pierced the bedroom wall, was at school writing exams at the time of the interview.
Nathan’s mother, Deolly Govender, 74, recalled that fateful day.
“Carmen was next to me on the bed when I heard the noise going on outside my bedroom window. I got up to check what was happening and didn’t even realise that Carmen had been shot.
“I saw Nathan and at first thought he was crouching below the wall for cover. But then he slumped down and his arm dropped onto the ground. I just started screaming and screaming.”
Momentum’s head of insurance marketing George Kolbe said it had been in communication with Denise Ganas this week and had sent her an official letter of payment.
With regard to the public uproar, Kolbe said: “A number of our clients have taken this opportunity to advise us of information they may not have previously shared. It is important to emphasise that full disclosure of information remains non-negotiable and that Momentum insists on full and honest disclosure.
“As always, we will continue to educate consumers.”Independent On Saturday