It is alleged that when a Pietermaritzburg man was confronted by the family for hiding the TV remote control on Friday, he opened fire, killing his cousin and injuring her elderly mother.
The unemployed 47-year-old man appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with the murder of his cousin, Rooksana Cassim, 46, an Eskom employee, and the attempted murder of his aunt, Maymoona Cassim, 80, at their home in Mountain Rise.
His family have called for him to undergo a psychological evaluation and be institutionalised because they believe he is “a danger to society”.
The man allegedly hid the remote from Rooksana because he did not like the family watching television due to his Islamic beliefs, said police.
“He took the remote to his bedroom and Rooksana complained to her father, Mohamed, that he had again hidden it from them.
“Mohamed went to his bedroom to find out what was going on, followed by Rooksana and May.”
The source said as they got to the bedroom, Rooksana saw her cousin sitting on his bed with a gun and leapt in front of her 82-year-old father.
“He allegedly opened fire, shooting Rooksana in the chest and her mother in the left leg. He then fled, and Mohamed called the police and another relative.”
When the relative arrived at the home, the man was allegedly in the kitchen, gun in hand. “The relative talked him into handing over the gun. Police and emergency services came and he was arrested.
“Unfortunately, Rooksana died at the scene of her injuries. Her mother is recovering in hospital.”
Rooksana’s brother, Yusuf Cassim, said his sister’s death had shattered the family.
He said the alleged shooter had lived with the family for about 15 years.
“He suffered various ailments, one being epilepsy. He wasn’t taking medication to treat these conditions.
“I am not sure what happened on that night, but I know he had extreme Islamic beliefs and was against watching television.”
Cassim said he believed the accused needed to undergo a psychological evaluation.
He described his sister as loving, kind and supportive.
“She was the eldest child. She was not married and did not have any children. She invested her time in taking care of the family, especially our mom.
“She always put everyone else’s needs before her own. I have been inundated with calls from her friends and work colleagues who still cannot believe she is gone.”
Cassim said his mother had just come out of surgery and was doing well.
Neighbours, stunned by the shooting, described the family as kind and friendly.
One woman, a mother of two, said she had heard the gunfire and loud screams.
“I assumed it was a robbery. I did not think for a moment that it was a family dispute.
“Only later did we find out what had happened. How are these parents going to live without their daughter? This is truly sad.”
Another neighbour said: “What is happening in our society? Good people are being killed for no reason. How can someone become angry enough to fire on loved ones?
“The elderly couple were always cheerful and happy. Losing their child in such a cruel way will leave them shattered.”
The accused has been remanded in police custody and is expected to appear in court again next week.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said a silver Browning firearm, one magazine, and rounds of ammunition were seized.