Kubashnie Govender told the POST she now felt “free” and could walk around without the fear that her dad would target her and the family she had married into.
Her father, Maran Nair, of Musgrave, was sentenced to life on Friday at the Durban High Court for the double murder and attempted murders.
On Boxing Day in 2014, he went to her marital home in Chatsworth, which she shared with her in-laws, and opened fire on them.
It emerged in court that he could not accept that his daughter had left his home and distanced herself from the family.
Govender, 38, said she had been rejoicing since sentence was passed on Friday.
“I am glad he is finally in jail. The life sentence does not upset me because growing up, he was very bad. He drank excessively and abused my mother. When we (children) intervened, he would come at us as well. I am relieved he is in prison.”
She said that for years after the shooting, she would watch her back in case her father was around.
“He has not seen my two youngest children and I don’t feel bad about it. I would go around in fear and sometimes, even before going out, we would discuss if we wanted to leave our home in case he was around.”
During the trial, Govender came face to face with her mother and brother for the first time in many years, but she said it did not worry her.
“It was the first time in close to 10 years that I saw them, but they did not care to even say hello. We are not on talking terms since the shooting and they looked over at me as though they bore a grudge.”
Sixty-three-year-old Nair, a former Telkom employee, was charged with the murder of two of his daughter’s in-laws and for the attempted murder of four relatives at their home in Montford.
The deceased were siblings Kumari Samuels, 42, and Thumashan Govender, 35.
The injured were Reuben Samuels, 55, his daughter, Poovendri Samuels, 27, his mother-in-law, Pushpa Govender, 67, and a relative, Devendran Naicker, 34. In the Durban High Court on Friday, Judge Mohini Moodley sentenced Nair to 25 years for the double murder and a further 15 years for two attempted murders, and 12 and eight years for the other two attempted murders.
The sentences will run concurrently.
During mitigation of sentence, Nair’s wife, Loga, disputed that he abused her.
She described him as a “kind and caring” father and described the relationship between Govender and Nair as “close”.
Loga said their relationship was closer than the relationship she shared with Nair.
“I do not agree with the report that my husband abused me. It is not true. He did not hit me or her. I don’t why she would have said something like that. Kubashnie was 28 when she left our home. Her father did not want her to leave but she left and that was the last we saw of her.”
Judge Moodley said Nair’s decision not to testify during the trial or mitigation of sentence “spoke volumes”.
“The accused never testified on his version of events. The defence also did not dispute the fact that Nair fired the shots. Murder is a heinous crime and both deceased sustained fatal wounds.
“Pushpa and Reuben survived their wounds but remember the pain and are reminded of the shooting by their scars. Poovendri escaped death.
“Generally, the main purpose of the court is to determine if the accused is sincerely remorseful and not simply feeling sorry for himself for having being caught.
“The court requires strong evidence to satisfy that the offender is remorseful. It is also stressed that it is essential for the offender to take the court into his confidence by testifying, so that he can be questioned. These factors are striking by their absence in this case.”
Judge Moodley labelled the shooting as a “senseless and the undeserved taking of life”.
She said that while Nair’s wife had testified during mitigation of sentence that he was a good man and that he cared for her, she could not only take in their personal circumstances.
“Although Mrs Nair is dependent on the accused, because she is unable to move around, the aggravating circumstances cannot be ignored.
“The deceased cannot be resurrected and no compensation can make up for their loss I believe, if placed for rehabilitation, there is little chance of reception for the accused.”
Judge Moodley said Nair and his family had still not accepted the fact that Govender made an independent and sound decision to leave them and maintain the separation of her own free will.
“They continue to hold the victims’ family responsible even nine years and three children later.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Pushpa said that while she welcomed the sentence it still pained her because she had had to bury two children, Kumari and Thumashen.
“I know my children won’t come back to me, but they were my children. One was married and the other was not. When I look at Kumari’s children, how do you think I feel?”
She said Kumari’s daughter recently gave birth.
Reuben said he was glad his wife (Kumari) had finally got justice.
On December 26, 2014, Nair went to his daughter’s home in Montford, Chatsworth, under the pretence of dropping off gifts for his grandchild. He spoke to a relative, Perumal Applesamy, at the driveway gate and asked to be let inside the house.
While Applesamy went into the house to seek permission from Govender, Nair called Reuben. As he opened the gate, he was shot by Nair in the left side of his jaw.
Kumari was shot in the hands, chest and neck and died in hospital the following day.
Pushpa was shot in the left side of her jaw and the bullet exited the back of her neck.
Thumashan was left paralysed and died two months later because of organ failure.
Nair also tried to shoot Reuben and Poovendri, but the gun jammed.
Devendren and Applesamy disarmed Nair until the police arrived.