Security officer allegedly used work gun in murder/suicide

Afsana Shaik, a mother of two, was shot several times by her estranged husband Purcell Chetty, who then turned the gun on himself outside their Belvedere home

Afsana Shaik

Published Mar 31, 2024


It has been alleged that a Tongaat mother who had sought a protection order against her estranged husband, and then asked that his firearm be returned to him for work purposes, was shot dead with the same gun.

Afsana Shaik, a mother of two, was shot several times by her estranged husband Purcell Chetty, who then turned the gun on himself outside their Belvedere home last Wednesday.

Police said the incident could have been sparked by a domestic-related feud. It is alleged that Shaik had sought a protection order against Chetty, an armed response officer for the Fidelity Services Group.

According to a well-placed police source, the couple had been in an argument inside the home and had walked outside, when Shaik’s daughters, aged 20 and 10, heard gunshots being fired shortly thereafter.

“The children, who ran outside, saw their mother lying on the driveway and the man, who is the father of her youngest daughter, falling to the ground. According to a witness, he had seen the man fire four shots at the woman, and then put the firearm to his head and a shot went off.”

Following the shooting, several posts were shared on social media claiming Shaik had sought a protection order against Chetty.

Purcell Chetty. Facebook.

“It is alleged that they had separated for the past six months and that she had sought the protection order against him sometime last year. However, it has been alleged that she had given a statement that his firearm be returned to him for work purposes.

“It is believed that Chetty had shot her and himself with the same firearm,” said the source.

Wahl Bartmann, CEO of the Fidelity Services Group, said Chetty had been employed at the company’s Durban branch since June 2022.

“While Fidelity cannot comment in any detail on the incident as this could prejudice the ongoing police investigation, I can confirm that we were not aware of any protection order instructions served against the officer.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family. This is indeed a tragedy and we will give the authorities our full co-operation in the ongoing investigation,” he said.

Professor Suria Govender, a board member of the Advice Desk for the Abused, said it was fairly common that survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) sought protection orders.

“Since GBV presents in an environment which threatens the very existence of the survivor, the desk has assisted them in obtaining protection orders against the perpetrators, who may also be in possession of a firearm.

“However, to have a protection order granted was one thing, but to have it implemented was quite another. While any legal injunction should serve as a deterrent, more often than not the perpetrators don’t see the repercussions of not adhering to it.

“Another problem is the enforcement of these orders by the police, who appear to lack the education on how to deal with these issues and with the urgency that is needed. The desk also has manuals and training programmes on dealing with GBV, which can be accessed by private and public institutions.

“This will assist all South Africans to understand their duties and responsibilities in respect of GBV violations. Furthermore, we have various acts and legislation, like the Domestic Violence Act, that people must familiarise themselves with so that they can protect their own rights and the rights of others,” she said.

Charlene Singh, chairperson of WomanPact, said the number of women seeking protection orders against their partners had increased over the years.

“However, protection orders were not always sufficient to guarantee safety,” said Singh.

“Unfortunately, for some perpetrators, they indeed view protection orders as merely a piece of paper and continue their abusive behaviour regardless.”

In addition, she said one of the greatest challenges women faced was the actual enforcing of protection orders.

“This is mainly due to the reluctance or inability of authorities to take immediate and decisive action when violations occur. This can leave women feeling powerless and vulnerable, undermining the effectiveness of the legal system in protecting them from harm.”

Shaik’s family declined to comment. Chetty’s family could not be reached.


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