KZN man shot and killed on his daughter’s 6th birthday while reversing out of his driveway.
At least seven persons have died and four more have reportedly been injured in separate shootings in Estcourt since January. One of the fatalities was Saihesh Chandrakassi, a fitter for Nestlé.
On February 8, shortly after enjoying the birthday of his daughter, the 32-year-old was shot and killed as he reversed out of his driveway in Mkamba Park.
His passenger, 40-year-old Shanal Ramsaran, was shot numerous times and is currently being treated in a stable condition.
Chandrakassi was a mother’s boy. His two daughters, along with their paternal grandmother, reside in Estcourt.
Kavisha Chandrakassi said she had last spoken to her brother earlier that day. “It was my niece’s birthday and she was turning six. I live in Pietermaritzburg and told my brother that morning to video call me when they cut the cake and sing happy birthday to her. While chatting, he spoke of his concerns regarding our mother’s health,” said Kavisha, a psychologist.
“I was busy with online counselling at home and by 10pm I realised that my brother had not called.
“I instead saw missed calls on my phone from other family members. When I walked into my bedroom, where my husband and daughter were seated, I could tell by their expressions that something was wrong.
“My daughter was in tears and I thought something happened to my mum. My husband then told me that my brother had been shot.
“I did not know how to process it. I had no words. Nothing was making sense to me at that point.”
She said she left home to go to Estcourt.
“My other brother, Amith, took Saihesh to the hospital. When I arrived, Amith was crying. I later viewed my brother’s body. It was riddled with bullets and his hand was cold.”
Kavisha said she left the hospital and went to the crime scene.
“From what I have been told, after my niece’s party Saihesh got into his vehicle, a VW Golf, with a passenger. His daughter, son and Amith’s son also got into the car but he told them to travel with our brother.
“He said he would fetch his children from Amith’s home, which was a few minutes away, and drop them off at their maternal grandmother’s home.”
Kavisha said soon after Amith drove off he heard multiple gunshots.
“My mother also heard the gunshots and came outside. By this time Amith had dropped his wife and the children off at his home and returned to our family home.
“When he reached the driveway he found Saihesh inside the car covered in blood. He shouted for help but nobody came to assist. Amith was unable to move Saihesh out of the car, so he got into his vehicle and drove to find help. A few people helped him to get our brother into his car.”
Kavisha said nothing was taken from the vehicle.
“Looking at the car and the manner in which he was killed, Saihesh was a sitting duck. He was massacred. My brother did not deserve to die this way.
“He was a humble and calm person who loved his children and his family. He had so many dreams for the future and we even planned on going on a family holiday later this year
“The most difficult moment was hearing his daughter say, It’s my birthday, my daddy died’. His daughter misses him but his son, who is 9, is trying to be strong.
“Amith is really struggling. They were best friends. Imagine the toll it is taking on him, having had to pull your brother’s body out of the vehicle.”
She said her mother also found it difficult to cope.
“When our father died in 2013 my mother’s health took a turn for the worse and I see it happening again with Saihesh’s passing. She loved him so much. For me, the only connection I have to my brother is his children.
“As a family, we have not spoken about justice. We live in South Africa and there is a high probability that we will never get justice.”
Vishal Ramsaran, the spouse of Shanal, a passenger in Saihesh’s car, claimed his father-in-law called him to let him know there had been a shooting.
“I arrived at the scene to find Shanal with multiple wounds to her body. My relative called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital. She is in a stable condition. We are not sure what transpired and we are waiting for the results of the police investigation.
“Things are getting scary in Estcourt. There have been a number of shootings in the community. A friend, Shiven Juggernath, who owned Jess Towing Services, was also fatally shot in January. I hope that we get justice for my wife’s shooting.”
In other incidents, a couple was killed on January 4 in the Estcourt CBD while driving their vehicle. Then, on February 10, Inkosi Zwelakhe Mthiyane was shot in front of his wife, and three days later, gunmen opened fire on a minibus taxi in the Wembezi region, killing two persons and injuring three more.
The head of the DA’s uThukela constituency, Alf Lees, reported that the party had earlier this month sent the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, a parliamentary query.
The group was interested in learning how far the inquiries into the murders in Estcourt had advanced.
“But we are yet to get a response. The repeated incidents of shootings and murders in Estcourt are to be condemned in the strongest terms.
“The question remains, why does it seem that none of the perpetrators of these murders in public places during daylight have been charged, convicted, and sent to prison for life? What action has the police taken to collect evidence and make arrests?
“What plan does Bheki Cele have to keep our Estcourt communities safe?”