Veteran journalist’s daughter in ‘accidental’ drowning

Niki Singh

Niki Singh

Published Feb 25, 2024


The daughter of former Golden City Post journalist, the late George Mahabeer, was found dead in the pool of her Chase Valley, Pietermaritzburg, home,on Thursday afternoon.

A post-mortem report revealed that Niki Singh, 49, had died as a result of an ‘accidental drowning’. Provincial police spokesperson, Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo, said Townhill Police had opened an inquest docket.

Singh, a stay at home mum and an avid cook, and her businessman husband Ashish, also 49, were at home with their sons, aged 23 and 11, at the time. Their 21-year-old daughter was out.

A distraught Ashish said he and Niki decided to go for an afternoon swim in their splash pool.

“It was extremely hot due to a heat wave on that day. My two sons were in the house at the time. Around 5.30pm Niki and I went for a swim. While in the pool, my phone rang. It was a call from the security guard at the front gate of our complex informing me that there were people to see me to pick up a delivery.

“I got out of the pool and I went to see the men. They chatted to me for a bit before they left. As I turned around after closing the front door, I saw my wife - looking unresponsive in the pool. I began screaming out her name hysterically and this alerted my sons.

“I jumped into the pool and grabbed her. I pulled her out of the water and onto our wooden deck. During this time, I scraped her back and injured myself in the process. I began doing CPR and hitting on her chest and back in the hope of reviving her.

“By this point both my sons had come to the pool and on seeing what was happening they ran out of our home to get help from a doctor who lives in our complex.”

Ashish said when the doctor arrived he declared Singh dead.

“He said Niki’s pupils were dilated and she did not have a pulse. I know she was not the best swimmer but I cannot understand how this could have happened in such a short space of time. We have CCTV footage of the incident but I am not ready to watch it. I have handed it over to our complex security for now.”

Ashish said a post-mortem was done on Singh and her death was ruled an accidental drowning.

“My children and our extended families are devastated by her death. Her mum has not been unwell. It is difficult because everything happened so fast.

“We met through my relatives and I remember she was wearing an orange Punjabi when I saw her for the first time. I knew then, I was going to marry her. We were, married for 24 years. She was such an amazing person, and she was loved and cherished by so many people. She also helped so many people in need.”

He said there had been an outpouring of grief from Niki’s family and friends, even on social media.

He said Niki was very proud of her late father.

“He died of lung cancer and she never really got over his death but she was proud of him and all his achievements while working at the Golden City POST, and thereafter the Sunday Times.”

Singh was cremated at the Cedar Ridge Crematorium on Friday.

Related Topics: