Identities of accused in Phoenix murders revealed in court

Seven others face charges ranging from malicious damage to property and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition to attempted murder

30 July 2021 - 12:15 By orrin singh
A strong army and police presence outside the Verulam magistrate's court on Friday keeps an eye on people calling for justice in connection with the deaths in Phoenix during the recent unrest.
A strong army and police presence outside the Verulam magistrate's court on Friday keeps an eye on people calling for justice in connection with the deaths in Phoenix during the recent unrest.
Image: Orrin Singh

The identities of three men facing charges of murder and attempted murder in relation to the recent violent unrest in Phoenix, north of Durban, have been revealed.

Dylan Govender, 29, Ned Govender, 30, and Jeetendra Jaikissoon, 39, who are all facing a murder charge, appeared in the Verulam magistrate's court, north of Durban, on Friday ahead of seven other accused who are expected to appear later. Dylan Govender is also facing an attempted murder charge.

They were remanded for a formal bail application on Tuesday.

National Prosecuting Authority provincial spokesperson Natasha Kara said Justin Hira, 32, was charged with possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of drugs, while Seelan Chetty, 24, and Owen Chinnasamy, 23, were both charged with three counts of attempted murder, and malicious injury to property. A fourth accused, Vernon Philip Govender, 21, was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. They were all remanded in custody until Wednesday for a formal bail application.

Brenton Callen Shunmogam, 25, and Mirandin Kaylyn Reddy, 26, were both charged with possession of unlicensed ammunition. Shunmogam was also charged with possession of a dangerous weapon, while Reddy was also charged with possession of suspected stolen goods and contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act. They were remanded in custody until Thursday for formal bail application

Alfonzo Naidoo, 23, was charged with possession of suspected stolen goods and his matter was adjourned to August 25. He was granted bail of R2,000 during his first appearance.

The 10 accused initially appeared on Monday but were not allowed to be identified due to investigators still needing to do an identity parade.

A strong police presence inside the courtroom coincided with a contingent of police and SANDF members who closely monitored large crowds gathered outside the court. The crowds chanted struggle songs and held up placards denouncing racism.

Appearing in the capacity as provincial executive committee member, education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said members of the ANC were present to express their concern about the killings after the unrest in the province two weeks ago.

“The senseless killings by the vigilantes of Indian origin does not define the character and ethos of the people of Indian origin, we are quite clear about that.”

He said the isolated incidents in Phoenix should not regress South Africans from building a nonracial and united country.

A man who would only identify himself as Zain said he was at court to support his friends who were arrested.

“There is a lot of misinformation going around. We are not racist in Phoenix, we live together with black people, our children go to school together. These were isolated incidents and we cannot say everyone is the same,” he said.

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