Family of doctor murdered in uMhlanga hotel vows to find justice
News / 20 October 2019, 12:10pm / WENDY JASSON DA COSTA
Durban - A prominent Durban orthopaedic surgeon died on Thursday after being stabbed in the neck.
Melvin Naidu, 51, was heard screaming before he staggered from a plush room at The Capital Pearls hotel in uMhlanga and collapsed.
A woman he apparently checked into the hotel with has been arrested in connection with his death.
His funeral will be held in Clare Estate on Monday.
His brother Kevin said the family was “totally distraught”.
“I will find justice for my brother,” he said.
Kevin said Naidu was 12 years older than him, and had changed his diapers when he was a baby. He said all of his brothers had studied medicine, and Naidu had survived many tragedies as a young man before becoming a successful doctor, only to die in tragic circumstances.
“Don’t slander his name, we have been through enough,” he pleaded last night.
He said his mother, Rose, “is not doing well”, and that he was worried about the “propaganda” and pictures from the crime scene that were being circulated on social media.
Kevin said all he wanted to do was bury his brother, and have the opportunity to mourn him. He would “open up” when he was in a better frame of mind. He refused to talk about Naidu’s wife, Dr Nadine Rapiti, a pathologist, and their children, saying he didn’t know what information she would want to appear in the media.
Meanwhile, police said a woman had been arrested by officers from the Durban North police station, and would appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.
Garnet Basson, the chief operating officer at The Capital Hotels and Apartments, said: “An altercation occurred between two guests who checked into a room, and resulted in the death of one of those guests.”
He said since the incident there had been a few queries from guests but had been handled in a sensitive manner out of respect for Naidu and in consideration of the investigation.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said on the night of Naidu’s death there had allegedly been a disagreement between him and his companion.
Guests in adjacent rooms on the 13th floor of the hotel heard a commotion and had contacted security guards to investigate.
“The suspect was allegedly heard screaming for help, followed by the deceased also shouting for help. The man fell on the floor outside the room. He had sustained a stab wound in the neck. He was certified dead at the scene,” said Gwala.
She said a knife thought to have been used to stab Naidu had been recovered from the scene.
Naidu made headlines last year when it emerged that there had been a stand-off between him and his brother-in-law Dr Anand Rapiti, a neurosurgeon. It was alleged Rapiti, who was based at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, had hired one of his patients to kill Naidu.
Rapiti spent last Christmas in jail. It was reported that he enjoyed hunting, and allegedly suggested that Naidu be invited to a hunting expedition in which he could be killed, and his death staged as an accident.
It was alleged that Rapiti had hired Desmond Maneveldt as “the hitman”, and asked him to cut off Naidu’s toes.
Maneveldt alerted police to the alleged plot.
On Saturday, advocate Paul Jorgensen, who had represented Rapiti, said his client no longer faced any charges.
“We made representations to the State which cast doubt on the credibility of one or more of their witnesses.” Jorgensen said the State had then withdrawn charges against his client.
Attempts to contact Naidu’s wife were unsuccessful at the time of publication.