Shakila Singh: Justice served, distraught sons won’t return to South Africa

Singh, a retired teacher, was found dead in her bedroom at her Musgrave Gardens home on February 29, 2016. She had duct tape around her face and hands, and was bound with plastic cable ties.

#Durban: The murderers of Musgrave mother and retired schoolteacher Shakila Singh have finally been handed their life sentences bringing some closure to Singh’s family on Friday – 28 September 2018.

Mteki – who’d worked as a domestic worker for Singh is said to have planned the 2016 robbery with her then boyfriend who recruited to men to commit the crime.

Amon Ngongi and Ally Jumar Abdullah were sentenced to 15 years for robbery, as was Nonjabulo Mteki who had been Singh’s trusted domestic worker for years. Mteki was the person who the Singh family believed to be the mastermind behind the robbery.

Shakila Singh Murder accused
Tanzanians Ally Jumar Abdullah, left, and Amon Ngongi, after being sentenced in the Durban High Court for the murder of Shakila Singh, with her former domestic worker Nonjabulo Mteki. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Singh, a retired teacher, was found dead in her bedroom at her Musgrave Gardens home on February 29, 2016. She had duct tape around her face and hands, and was bound with plastic cable ties.

Sentencing brings justice to Singh’s murder

Judge Bert Laing said he found no compelling reason not to hand out the minimum sentences and said that Mteki was not found guilty of murder because he gave her the benefit of the doubt. However, she had assisted the murderers and afterwards helped in the effort to cover their tracks.

While she (Mteki) is local, Ngongi and Abdullah are both Tanzanians who claimed to be refugees.

“This country provided you with the opportunity to start your lives over again. In return you have taken the life of someone who made this possible and contributed to the fiscus to make to have this opportunity,” the judge said.

Earlier this year, Mteki was acquitted of Singh’s murder but was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances. Ngongi and Abdullah were convicted of murder. 

Arguing in mitigation of sentence, Mteki’s attorney, Nhlanhla Mnculwane told the court that she was driven by the temptation of money.

Mnculwane told the court to consider that Mteki never intended for Singh to be killed, as it was not part of the plan. 

In a probation officer’s report, it was revealed that Singh took Mteki in and employed her after she fell pregnant while in matric. The report says Singh was caring and compassionate towards Mteki and even paid her child’s school fees.

Arguing in aggravation of sentence, State Prosecutor Vasi Chetty said Mteki had abused and taken advantage of Singh’s trust, adding she and her co-accused had shown no remorse for their actions.      

Shakila Singh’s sons too distraught

Chetty said Singh provided for Mteki’s children but her own sons have been left distraught by her murder and have left the country and have no desire to return.

Singh’s son, Yashmeir, who lived with his mother in the secure complex at the time of the murder, had joined his younger brother, Amil, a medical student in Mauritius just after the murder.

Reacting to the sentences, Singh’s sister, Jayshree Maharaj says Mteki is still not remorseful.

“I felt that Jabu was the clever, calculating one. Although, she did the dirty work behind the scenes, she was careful enough not to get her fingers soiled in the actual murder. That’s why she got away with it. I feel that she was just as evil as the perpetrators. In fact, even more so,” Maharaj said. 

Shakila Singh Murder
Shakila Singh’s family members in the Durban High Court, as sentencing proceedings got underway. Photo: Nushera Soodyal.

Sources: IOL, East Coast Radio

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

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