WATCH | Durban beach stabbings: what we know so far

19 November 2019 - 16:42 By Orrin Singh

The bodies of a man and a woman from Chatsworth, Durban, were found with stab wounds on Suncoast Beach in Durban on Monday.

The families of a Chatsworth man and woman have been left stunned after their lifeless bodies were found with stab wounds on sand dunes near Suncoast Casino in Durban on Monday.

Fathima Muhammad, a 50-year-old Chatsworth mother of three, sustained multiple stab wounds to her body, while tiler Kresen Chandiah, 24, was found with a kitchen knife sticking out of his chest.

TimesLIVE visited the families of Muhammed and Chandiah in Montford, Chatsworth, south of Durban, on Tuesday. 

Muhammed's family were already in the midst of funeral preparations as she was to be buried on Tuesday, in accordance with her faith. 

The family said Muhammad had left home shortly before midday on Monday, telling them she was going to Suncoast Casino for lunch.

She last spoke to one of her daughters shortly after 1pm. When her daughter attempted to contact her an hour later, her phone was switched off.

“The police told us they discovered her body around 4pm. We were informed at 6.30pm. We don't understand what could have happened,” said a family member, who asked not to be named.

The family said they had requested video footage from Suncoast to help piece together Muhammad's final hours. 

Muhammad was described as a bubbly and loving person.

According to her family, her husband died 12 years ago, leaving her to take care of her three children.

Meanwhile, a member of Chandiah's family described him as a religious person who was a tiler by profession.

Chandiah's family denied knowing Muhammad, just as Muhammad's family denied knowing Chandiah.

Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said police were alerted to the incident after a  homeless man stumbled upon the scene.

“On Monday afternoon a vagrant pitched up at the Durban police station and told the officers on duty that he had come across two bodies on the dunes,” he said.

Naicker said the vagrant had been collecting plastic and cardboard on that section of the beach, which he sells for recycling.

“He said he had been past that area a short while earlier and on his return he came across the bodies. He's quite convinced that they were not there when he went past the first time.”

Naicker said the homeless man accompanied police officers to the scene. “On arrival,  police officers found two bodies. The woman had multiple stab wounds and had passed away. The man had a knife sticking out of his chest.

"The woman was identified by her identity document which was in her handbag.”

Naicker said this was an isolated incident and there was no reason for the public to panic as police frequently patrolled the area. He said detectives were investigating two counts of murder.

Suncoast Casino PR manager Kelly Graham confirmed that a dead man and woman had been discovered in the dune vegetation bordering the promenade.

"Police were called to the scene immediately and will continue with investigations," said Graham in a statement.

She did not respond to questions about CCTV footage. 

Meanwhile, eThekwini municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has called on the police to work around the clock to find the culprits.

“This unfortunate incident occurred when the city is gearing itself to host thousands of visitors during the festive season. As the city, we have developed a festive season safety plan to ensure that our residents and visitors are safe during the festive season and beyond,” said Kaunda.

The mayor urged those who may have witnessed the incident to share information with the police.

“One of the issues we have prioritised as the municipality is to increase police visibility and installation of CCTV cameras in our popular tourist areas so that we can identify suspects and people who commit crimes in these areas."