Asvini Jumunlall with her late husband, Rakesh Emrith, on their wedding day in 2016.
Durban - A Verulam widow claims she fears for her life after being accused of killing her businessman husband and wrongly keeping his belongings, which include seven vehicles.

Asvini Jumunlall, 40, said that days after his funeral on August 19, she began receiving death threats from unknown persons who warned her house would be burnt down with her in it.

Last week, the Valdin Heights resident obtained an urgent Durban High Court interdict and restraining order against her late husband Rakesh Emrith’s first wife, Salena Emrith, 42, of Phoenix.

She said Emrith had earlier claimed she was still married to Rakesh and that Emrith and her family had made her life difficult because of constant threats and harassment that had left her mentally, physically and emotionally drained.

Emrith was interdicted from removing the vehicles - two VW Golfs, an Audi A3, Isuzu KB, VW Golf 5, Chevrolet Utility and VW Polo Vivo - and restrained from assaulting, abusing, harassing, threatening, defaming and intimidating Jumunlall, as well creating a disturbance at her home.

The order was granted by Judge Rashid Vahed.

In her founding affidavit, Jumunlall, a logistics officer who was represented by attorney Rajesh Hiralall, said she had been accused of murdering Rakesh, who died after falling ill last month.

“My health is being compromised due to the emotional trauma I am experiencing and, further, I am mourning my late husband and should be afforded the time to grieve in peace.”

She said Emrith had accosted her outside the hospital after her husband died and asked her to hand over the keys to the vehicle she was driving.

According to her affidavit, Rakesh and Emrith had married in 2001, separated in 2012 and divorced two years later. They had no children.

Jumunlall said she met Rakesh in 2012 and they began dating.

“He was separated from the first respondent at the time and was not living with her. In 2016, he moved in with me and we began making wedding arrangements, as our daughters, both from (separate) previous relationships, would come over for weekend visits and holidays. We wanted to make a home as a family.”

In April 2016, they married traditionally and celebrated their marriage with their children, friends and family. She said they were legally married in May this year.

Jumunlall said she and Emrith had never got along and she had been accused of taking Rakesh away from her.

“(Rakesh) and I explained to her on numerous occasions that I only met him while they were separated and we did not have an extra-marital affair. However, (Salena) never accepted this and would pass comments whenever I would see her.”

She said Emrith told her in January last year that she and Rakesh had re-married in May 2016 “and that she was his real wife and had proof of the marriage”.

After seeing a copy of the marriage certificate, Jumunlall said she questioned her husband and he replied he had been “coerced” into signing the certificate, while he was not of sound and sober senses.

“Immediately upon realising what he had done, he informed the marriage officer to cancel the marriage certificate. The pastor advised that he would indeed cancel the marriage certificate on my husband’s instruction and it would not be sent to the Department of Home Affairs for the marriage to be registered into the system.”

After her husband died, Jumunlall said she was threatened and harassed while trying to make funeral arrangements.

On August 19, the day of the funeral, she said Emrith and her family were present “and began shouting and verbally abusing me. It was most humiliating and embarrassing and I could not cope with their insults and abuse because I was mourning my husband”.

She added that days after the funeral, the threats continued.

Jumunlall added she also began receiving death threats via unidentified phone numbers and was instructed to hand over the vehicles and leave the residence “before they burn down my house with me in it”.

“They advised me that I had stolen the first respondent’s husband and they would not allow me to benefit from her husband’s death.”

Jumunlall said she had to ask her family to stay with her until the matter was resolved.

Emrith had not filed any opposing papers.