Sibusiso Mpungose, 44, was sentenced four life terms in Pietermaritzburg High Court for killing his four children. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency(ANA)
Sibusiso Mpungose, 44, was sentenced four life terms in Pietermaritzburg High Court for killing his four children. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency(ANA)

Crimes that dominated headlines in KZN over the past decade

By Jolene Marriah-Maharaj Time of article published Dec 31, 2019

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As we prepare to ring in a brand new decade, we look at some of the most heinous crimes that have made headlines in KwaZulu-Natal in the past decade. 

2011 - Pietermaritzburg killers jailed for burning man 

The sordid details of how Pietermaritzburg man Sandesh Poorun was lured to a local inn by his child's mother, was ploughed with drugs, strangled and then burnt to ashes was revealed in a two-year court battle. 

While family members of Poorun's called for a life sentence, Poorun's killers Kalisha Rajcoomar and Amith Sewkarran were jailed for 18 and 14 years respectively in May 2011. 

Pooran was strangled at the Gables bed and breakfast and then taken to a remote area outside Pietermaritzburg, where his body was torched on February 7, 2009. 

He and Rajcoomar at the time shared a 3-year-old child. However she thereafter married Sewkarran. 

The couple in their defence said that they had been driven to kill Poorun because he had refused to accept their relationship and had constantly harassed, threatened and abused them, making their lives “impossible”.

Kalisha Rajcoomar and Amith Sewkarran

Rajcoomar had been described as “cool, calm, calculated person with nerves of steel”, saying it was extremely unusual and disturbing that she could watch Sewkarran strangle Poorun and then check Poorun’s pulse to see whether he was dead.

News 24 reported in 2013 that Kalisha was undergoing therapy in prison because she had flashback of the murder. 

2012 - Crocodile murder

The trial of a Richard’s Bay woman and her young lover who buried a man alive and then threw his body in the crocodile infested  Enseleni River played itself out in the Mtunzini High Court. 

Michelle Nadasen, then 24, a mother of one, pleaded guilty to murdering her father’s friend Gansen Gounden on January 3, 2010. 

Michelle Nadasen

In her plea Nadasen said she killed Gounden because he fondled her breasts and private parts. 

Her co-accused Keegan Govender, who was 17 at the time of the murder, and 19, when he was convicted pleaded not guilty. 

The couple killed Gounden by hitting him with a spade, burying him alive under a mango tree. 

They then exhumed his body four days later and then dumped it in the crocodile-infested Enseleni River. 

During Govender’s trial Nadasen’s father Ram Reddy told the court he fainted when he opened his bin and saw a pair of legs wearing white takkies sticking out.

He had been awoken in the middle of the night of January 7 while the couple had been transporting the body. 

Their murder and subsequent arrest on January 7, 2010, rocked the small community of Brackenham. Only the upper part of Gounden’s body was recovered from the river. He was identified by his tattoos. 

Nadasen is serving a 25-year-jail term at Westville Prison. Govender was jailed to 17 years. 

In her judgment Judge Mohini Murugasen said that while Govender was young, he was not so youthful or ignorant that he could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct. 

2012 - Lotter siblings and 'son of God' found guilty of parents' murder

In March 2012 Hardus and Nicolette Lotter were found guilty of murdering their parents in their Westville home on July 19, 2008.

Maria Magdalena Lotter, 52, and Johannes Petrus “Johnny” Lotter, 53 – were stabbed to death in their home. 

Mathew Naidoo, Nicolette’s boyfriend at the time, was also found guilty. 

Judge Shyam Gyanda found that Naidoo had convicted the siblings to murder their parents. 

Hardus Lotter, his sister Nicolette Lotter, and mastermind Mathew Naidoo.

The judge said Naidoo was trying to fleece the Lotters and access Nicolette’s inheritance.

Hardus was sentenced to 10 years for each murder, but the sentences were to run concurrently. 

In 2018 the Mercury reported that Hardus was out on parole and had been seen at a church event. 

His sister was sentenced to 12 years for each count of murder, also running concurrently. 

In October 2018, Nicolette married Rian Nortjé from Gauteng in prison. 

The wedding was reported in You Magazine. Department of Correctional Services, Thulani Mdluli, confirmed the wedding took place within the state facility. Mdluli said the couple were allowed a maximum of eight guests and guidelines were provided for photographs to be taken during and after the wedding. “The department bears no cost for the above,” he said.

Nicollete remains in prison. 

Naidoo received a double life sentence. 

2014 - Toddler raped, stabbed 25 times because ‘the devil came’

In 2014 a Durban Magistrate Anand Maharaj told killer Francis Mandlenkosi Gumede that he could not believe what he was hearing as details of how he killed his girlfriend's toddler daughter emerged in court. 

In his guilty plea Gumede admitted to killing Aphile Zungu by raping her, stabbing her more than 25 times and then throwing her body down a pit latrine. 

Gumede who was jailed for 45 years - life for the rape and 20 years for murder - blamed his actions on the devil. 

He said on the day of the murder he had been babysitting the little girl and had also been drinking with his sister. 

The little girl's mother said Gumede should have killed her instead of an innocent child.

2015 - Shahiel Sewpujun murder 

In February 2015 a Phoenix grandmother and her daughter decided to murder a grade 4 pupil because he was naughty and did not listen. 

Gruesome details of how the pair murdered Shahiel Sewpujun before throwing his body in a manhole were revealed in a detailed confession made to police. 

Rajwantie Haripersadh, 54, Shahiel’s mother’s aunt, and Kavitha Naiker, 31, were convicted to 25 years and life respectively. 

The duo were arrested by Phoenix detectives and provincial organised crime.

Shahiel Sewpujan

In the statement Haripersadh said after killing Shahiel by suffocating him, they put his body in a black suitcase and kept the bag in the lounge. According to the statement, the duo then threw Shahiel’s school books and clothes into a river in Stonebridge (Unit 4) and left the bag with his body under a tree in Charclay Road that morning.When it got dark the duo went to where they had left the bag. Kavitha removed the body and disposed of it in a manhole while her mother kept watch. 

2016 - Kandasamy ceremonial mace killing

In March 2017 Mogamberry Rajen Kandasamy received a triple life sentence for killing his wife and two teenage children using an Hanuman stick used by a Hindu deity. He killed them on December 31, 2013. 

Right until his judgment Kandasamy, 44, a former merchandiser, maintained his innocence. He told the court that it was robbers who had murdered his family. 

Following his arrest Kandasamy made a detailed confession of the murder. 

However during the trial he told the court that he had been assaulted by police into making a confession. 

After the conclusion of a trial-within-a-trial Judge Shyam Gyanda ruled, that the confession was admissible.

From left: Mogamberry Kandasamy killed his wife Varsha, daughter Melarisa and son Megandren.

In his statement Kandasamy, 44, a former merchandiser at Shoprite at Chatsworth Centre, said he had first attacked his 41-year-old wife after she told him to leave her alone after he asked her, "You really want a divorce?" He then struck her once on her face and twice on her head while she was sleeping. 

Earlier, he and his wife had been involved in several arguments over why she was texting someone on her cellphone, he said in the statement.

He said that when Varsha was hit on the face she made a sound. He then left the mace next to her body.

His son Magandren, 17, was hit next, but it was not clear from his statement whether he had used the same mace.

"When Magandren walked into the bedroom towards his mother I struck him on the back of his head. He fell to the floor (and) I struck him twice on his head." Kandasamy said when Melarisa walked into the bedroom she suffered the same fate: "I struck her once on the back of her head. She fell next to Magandren. While she was on the floor I hit her twice with the Hanuman stick on her head. On the third strike the stick broke."

2018 - Phoenix triple murder 

A year after Phoenix tow truck driver Colin Pillay killed his lover and her two daughters in cold blood, he began serving a triple life sentence.

In September 20, 2018, Jane Govindasamy and her daughters Nikita,22, and Denisha,16, were found murdered in their Longcroft home. 

It was Jane’s husband Sagren that made the gruesome discovery. 

Pillay had been involved in an extra-marital affair with Jane and had decided to kill her because he suspected she was with someone else. 

In an interview with IOL Sagren said even if his wife was involved in an affair she did not deserve to die that way. 

Rackelle and Denisha Govindasamy with their mother, Jane. Picture: Supplied

Pillay denied murdering Jane and her two daughters saying he was gambling and fishing on the night of the murders. 

He was however captured on CCTV footage a few metres from the crime scene, seen wiping what appears to be a knife and disposing of it in a nearby bush. The knife had been recovered. 

In October this year Judge Philip Nkosi found Pillay guilty. 

2019 - Pinetown father hangs his children 

The Pinetown father who pleaded guilty to killing his three biological children and stepdaughter by hanging them received four life sentences last month. 

Sibusiso Mpungose, 44, pleaded guilty in October to hanging his children aged 4, 6, and 10 at their family home in Wyebank on September 3.

He was sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. 

Sibusiso Mpungose has been sentenced to four life terms for killing his three biological children and teenage stepdaughter. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

In jailing him Judge Sharmaine Balton said: "You instead used the children as a pawn in this feud with your wife. This is inhumane and exceptionally aggravating against you especially as they were your children, three of whom were your own flesh and blood. There are no words to adequately describe your actions," she said.

In his guilty plea he said he had been experiencing problems with his wife and she wanted a divorce. He said this left him devastated and he decided to kill himself and his children. 

Shortly after his arrest Mpungose was also charged with rape but the rape charge was withdrawn. 


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