Sandra Munsamy's brother 'was initial target' before her kidnapping, court hears

03 September 2020 - 15:30
The house where kidnapped Durban businesswoman Sandra Munsamy was held for six months.
The house where kidnapped Durban businesswoman Sandra Munsamy was held for six months.
Image: Jeff Wicks

Inderan Naicker, who heads the once multibillion-rand Xmoor Transport family business empire, was allegedly the initial target before his sister, Sandra Munsamy, was abducted.

This was revealed in the Durban magistrate's court on Thursday when two of the four men arrested in connection with Munsamy's kidnapping earlier this year, continued with their bail application.  

The Hawks previously made an application to bar the media from identifying or photographing the accused due to the sensitive nature of the case.

TimesLIVE reported that accused one and three are South Africans, and accused two and four are Mozambicans. None have been named.

Responding to an affidavit deposed by Hawks investigating officer Abraham Sonnekus, who cited reasons why the pair should be denied bail, former national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana, representing accused three, sought to exploit gaps in the state's case against his client.

Nxasana conceded that while his client was arrested at a house in eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, where Munsamy was held captive for 162 days, he maintained his innocence.

The court heard that the 39-year-old married father of four from the Msholozi area, near KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga, “had nothing to do” with ransom demands for Munsamy's release or intense surveillance on Munsamy and her family.

Nxasana said his client frequently travelled to Mozambique where his siblings resided and that the state had no evidence to place him at the scene of the crime in Pinetown where Munsamy was kidnapped on May 30 2019.

Sonnekus took the stand to respond to claims that the Hawks had fabricated evidence against the accused and that the state did not have a watertight case.

He said the accused had been arrested at the home where Munsamy was being held captive and that cellphone records placed him at this location from the beginning of June 2019.

“We seized 23 cellphones during the search and seizure operation. I personally viewed WhatsApp communication (between accused three and four) which showed that they had communicated from a period of June, until the victim was recovered.” 

During cross-examination Nxasana probed Sonnekus to elaborate on how the Hawks came to the conclusion that intensive surveillance was done on the Naicker family, before Munsamy was kidnapped.

“Cellphone data extracted from this syndicate or group showed that the Crossmoor company had been searched on the internet,” he responded.

“Further to that an affidavit was drafted by Inderan Naicker, the victim's brother, in which [he said] it was communicated to him how well they (kidnappers) knew the family — they even knew what cars they were driving — and had told Inderan that he was a target before his sister being taken.” 

Meanwhile, accused four’s attorney, Thobile Sigcau, stuck to his client's previous claims that he had been forced to conduct guarding duties at the house in eMalahleni.

Both Nxasana and Sigcau remained adamant that their clients were not flight risks, having already had their passports confiscated by the Hawks, and that they had shown exceptional circumstances to be granted bail.

Prosecutor Kuveshnie Pillay disputed this, highlighting that both the men faced serious charges and that the evidence against them was strong, as they had been arrested at the house where Munsamy had been held hostage.

“The state submits that both men have no fixed ties to their addresses, they come and go to and from Mozambique as they feel. SA has no extradition treaty with Mozambique. Both of them are flight risks and cannot be trusted,” she said.

Magistrate Anand Maharaj postponed the matter to September 7 for bail judgment.

All four accused face charges related to kidnapping, attempted murder, extortion and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

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