No arrests in Pietermaritzburg businesswoman's death
Durban - Days before she was killed, Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Kavitha Nerputh reached out to the POST for help.
On Monday night, the 41-year-old was found dead in her locked Audi SUV at the Alexandra Park in Scottsville. She was allegedly strangled with a cellphone charger cable.
The cable was found behind the driver’s seat with a lock of hair entangled in it.
By Friday morning police confirmed no arrests had been made.
A police source, who asked not be identified, claimed Nerputh was last seen at the Sasol petrol station on Alan Paton Road at 4pm the same day.
It is believed that she called a family member a short while later and said she was being followed.
The POST is aware that police were trying to obtain CCTV footage from the area.
At around 7.30pm on Monday night, police found Nerputh’s car while they were pursuing another vehicle.
The source said the police suspected that Nerputh had been strangled.
It is believed that two cellphones and her car keys were missing.
Her handbag, wallet and a diary were found in the car. Nerputh still had her jewellery on.
She was dressed in black tights, a formal top and high-heel shoes.
Her body was found in the driver’s seat of the car.
Nerputh, of Newholmes in Northdale, had secured several protection orders against people she believed were trying to defame her.
Last week, she made contact with the POST with regard to a protection order she was trying to obtain.
The matter was set down to be heard in court next Monday.
“I am a victim of cyberbullying. I am a successful businesswoman and people want to create stories about me to defame me,” she told the POST.
“These people are obsessed with me. They are obsessed with destroying me. They want to bring me down in any way they can.”
Nerputh launched a weight-loss tea business in October 2017. She believed her success in business was behind the attempts to tarnish her image.
Her customers at her business in the Camps Drift were full of praise for Nerputh.
Fred Zuma said she always greeted him with a smile.
“She was never upset or angry. She would always welcome you to her store and ask how you were. I have been taking her tea for two years and I went from weighing 164kg to 149kg.
“I have no idea what I am going to do now that the store is closed,” he said.
Ann Esmer, a salon owner who styled Nerputh’s hair, said: “She would visit me every month to have her hair washed and set.
“She chatted about her life and the marriage she had got out of.
“She loved chatting about her kids and her business. She was such a hard worker. I was shocked to learn what happened to her. Nobody deserves this.
“My cousin was murdered as well, so hearing what happened to Kavitha certainly opened old wounds for me.”
Another store owner, who declined to be named, said Nerputh often visited him and his wife.
“She was fun-loving and excited every time she spoke to us. My wife is pregnant and she always stopped by with little treats to spoil my wife.”
He said he had heard about the court cases and protection orders, but Nerputh never spoke about it.
“From what we know of her, she was a kind and loving person.”
In March 2019, she secured a protection order against former friend Yugeshnie Reddy. This was to prevent Nerputh from being harassed on social media.
Reddy said she was shocked to learn of Nerputh’s death.
“When the news broke, I could not believe it. I refused to believe it, until I saw an article that confirmed it.
“I feel bad for her family and pray they get closure and justice. It’s not easy for a family to deal with death, especially when they don’t know what happened to her.”
The POST previously published a story on a party Nerputh hosted for her then 4-year-old daughter Zia at the Sunny-Lea Pre-Primary School in 2017. It cost about R100000.
Nerputh had two other children - a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.
Her family declined to comment.
Her funeral took place on Wednesday.