I saw him shoot her multiple times: Landlady

It is alleged that Saeedah Baderdien’s refusal to reconcile with Dayalan Kenny Govender drove him to fatally shoot her more than six times before taking the life of their three-year-old daughter, Zara, and then turning the gun on himself

Dayalan Kenny Govender with Zara

Published Feb 11, 2024


Saeedah Baderdien and her boyfriend, Dayalan Kenny Govender, had been separated since December last year.

She had moved out with her two daughters - from a previous relationship - to an outbuilding in Pipeclay Place, Clayfield, Phoenix.

It’s alleged that Baderdien’s refusal to reconcile with Govender, 48, drove him to fatally shoot her more than six times, before taking the life of their three-year-old daughter, Zara, and then turning the gun on himself.

Two police sources, told the POST that Baderdien, a receptionist, had separated from Govender who had approached her on two occasions to try and reconcile, but she had refused.

“She told him she was moving on and it seemed like he could not accept this,” the sources claimed.

After the separation, Zara, had continued to live with Govender while the two older girls, aged 12 and 9, lived with Baderdien.

Baderdien’s landlady, Pam Pillay, said the mother and daughters had been living in her outbuilding since December 1.

She said Govender often dropped off Zara in the week to visit with her mother and sisters.

“I do not know if they were having any problems. Saeedah never confided about that to me. I often saw him come to drop off Zara so Saeedah could spend time with her after work or at the weekend. But, I did notice that for the whole of last week he did not bring the child to visit,” added Pillay.

“During the week Saeedah had bought some fruit for my granddaughter, who she said reminded her of Zara. It was then that she told me that she had not seen her baby.”

Saeedah Baderdien

Pillay said Govender arrived on Saturday around midday as her husband, Cyril, was leaving to go out.

“I was outside and saw Saeedah running down the drive-way. She looked so happy to finally get a chance to spend time with Zara. The other two children were waiting at the top of the driveway for her to bring their sister up to the home. The children could not see their mother when she got to the car. Their view was obstructed.”

Pillay said as Saeedah opened the door to get Zara, Govender opened fire on her.

“She ran and tried to hide near some cars but he got out of his vehicle, found her and continued to shoot at her. We heard about six gunshots. He then pointed the gun in the direction of her two daughters. But, my husband ran up the driveway to grab them and bring them into our home.”

Pillay said Govender then got into his car and sped off with Zara.

“The two girls just kept asking where their mother was. I went outside and saw Saeedah take her last few breaths. It was horrible. We called the police and while they were at the scene they informed us that he had also killed Zara and himself at his house, which was a few roads away from us.”

Govender had shot his daughter in the head.

Pillay said it was a heartbreaking scene.

“Saeedah’s family are from Johannesburg. They came to Durban on Sunday and have taken both the bodies to Johannesburg for burial. They are devastated.”

She said Saeedah kept to herself and worked most of the time.

Aroona Chetty, the director of the Phoenix Child and Welfare Society, said femicide in Phoenix was on the increase.

“In the last few years we have had incidents where women have been burnt, murdered, shot and stabbed by their husbands and boyfriends. We just have had too many cases.”

She said controlling and abusive partners contributed to the violence.

“In some instances, partners cannot accept the reality of a relationship being over. Alcoholism and drug abuse are also fuelling femicide.”

Chetty said the organisation hosted programmes for men to teach them how to deal with anger, and how to react in confrontational situations with the opposite sex.

“The challenge is that men don’t attend the programmes so we are now trying to educate young boys at our schools. They are taught how to behave and how to handle anger and violence. We teach them the value of relationships so if they are in a situation where a partner cheats or wants to leave, they will be able to talk it out instead of using violence.”

Last Monday, community members held a candlelight vigil in memory of Baderdien and Zara.

Both the Govender and Baderdien families declined to comment.

Colonel Robert Netshiunda, the provincial police spokesperson said two counts of murder and an inquest docket had been opened.

He said a firearm suspected to have been the murder weapon, was found at the scene.