Saturday, April 30, 2011

R500 000 for Freedom.

April 29 2011

Convicted killer Pranesh Heeralall has paid R500 000 for his freedom. 

                                                                Pranesh Heeralall

Heeralall was convicted last week of killing his business partner Deenadayalan Govender and his bail of R20 000 had been revoked by retired Judge Thumba Pillay. Heeralall hired hitman Bobo Chamane to carry out the murder in 2004. 

                                                            Judge Thumba Pillay

After a trial that lasted more than five years, Judge Pillay found Heeralall and Chamane guilty of murder and sentenced them to 25 years and 20 years in prison respectively. 

Heeralall had Govender killed to claim from an insurance policy he had taken out on him (Govender). Each had taken a policy on each other to ensure that their joint business would not fall into debt if either died. 

On Thursday, Judge Pillay granted Heeralall bail of R500 000 pending his appeal against his conviction as he said there were substantial and compelling circumstances to warrant his release. 

Heeralall’s advocate, Yoga Moodley SC, had argued that Heeralall owned a profitable plumbing business, properties, including a R1.6 million home in Umhlanga Rocks, and had substantial savings of R940 000. 

“He is a devout husband, father and a well-established businessman… If he is sent to jail, it is possible that his business would close and there could be foreclosures on his properties.” 

State advocate Rema Mahabeer said the state was opposed to bail being granted. 

                                                                  Rema Mahabeer

Mahabeer said that sexual predator Ismail Sheik, who is at large after failing to hand himself to the authorities after his appeal was struck off the roll last year, was also a businessman and had had strong family ties to KZN. 

                                                                      Ismail Sheik

“In that case it was an act of desperation… Heeralall’s assets would make it easier for him to escape compared to other convicted people.” 

Judge Pillay imposed strict bail conditions on Heeralall and ordered him to report daily to the Umhlanga Rocks police station, surrender his travel documents to police, and to inform the investigating officer if he wished to leave the province.

Protect and Serve


'Protect and serve' no longer describes our police..

National police chief General Bheki Cele's office insisted on Thursday that recent reports of police brutality were isolated incidents.

"It will be important for us to treat those as isolated incidents instead of bringing them into one issue and cloud the matter around the issue of police brutality," his spokesperson, Major General Nonkululeko Mbatha, told SABC radio news.

"We cannot obviously deny the fact that in some instances our members can act beyond what is expected which is why... the ICD [Independent Complaints Directorate] will take the process forward.

"In all these examples there are investigations underway," she added.

She was responding to thousands of reports of police assaulting or killing unarmed civilians.
The most recent was this week's shooting death of Jeanette Odendaal, 45, outside the Kempton Park police station.

Cop refuses to call for ambulance

A car guard who said he witnessed the shooting by a sergeant told The Star newspaper in a report published on Thursday that the policeman refused to call an ambulance.

Sipho Baloyi, who had helped Odendaal to park her car when she crashed into a stationary police vehicle, said the sergeant shot her from a short distance after Baloyi alerted the police to the accident in the parking lot.

"A sergeant came around from the charge office and walked out of the station. He didn't say anything, but walked to her passenger window. He shot her upper arm and it looked like the bullet went through her breast and out of her chest," said Baloyi.

The police officer then walked back into the police station, but returned a few seconds later.
He said he pleaded with the sergeant to call emergency services.

But, said Baloyi, the sergeant told him: "She's dying already, there's no point in calling the ambulance."

Cop burst into tears

He said other police officers flooded the scene after the shooting and demanded to know from the sergeant why he had shot her. The sergeant then allegedly burst into tears.

Beeld newspaper reported that Odendaal, who lived in Aston Manor, a few kilometres from the police station, had wanted to report a case of disturbance of peace.

The Star said her family would travel from Middelburg in Mpumalanga on Thursday to identify her body.

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) said on Wednesday that the sergeant had been arrested and would appear in court soon.

It was believed that he mistook the noise of the crash for gun shots.

Tatane 8 in court

On Tuesday, eight policemen appeared in court in the Free State after allegedly killing unarmed civilian Andries Tatane, who was beaten and shot during a protest in Ficksburg on April 13.

Cele on Tuesday said the country's 8 500 crowd control police officers would get a refresher course in handling protests.

A video of Tatane's death was broadcast on national television.

ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini earlier said two similar police brutality cases had been before two KwaZulu-Natal courts on Tuesday.

One was in Greytown, where five policemen allegedly strangled a person in custody while the other case, in Hammersdale, involved 15 policemen who alleged beat a suspect who later died.

Western Cape media also reported this week that an unarmed Cape Town club owner had been beaten up by several police officers while he was in handcuffs.

Bulletproof Toilets

Corrugated iron toilet enclosures are not acceptable for Khayelitsha residents because criminals can shoot through the walls, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Friday.

"The corrugated iron relates to the safety of the people that live in that area because of the crime incidences," commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said.

He was speaking in Cape Town at the release of the commission's findings on a complaint laid in January by the ANC Youth League against the City of Cape Town.

The commission found that the city violated people's right to dignity by not enclosing 51 toilets in the township's Makhaza area.

The finding comes after members of the league last week demolished tin-and-wood structures the city was putting up to give people privacy, demanding brick and mortar instead.

Toilets removed

The council this week removed the toilets altogether, a move followed by violent protests in which 32 people were arrested.

Commission deputy chairperson Pregs Govender said on Friday that she hoped the fact that the findings were being released now would help bring peace to the area.

The full report would be made public next week.

"The commission finds that the city violated the right to dignity as envisaged by section 10 of the constitution by not enclosing the toilets," she said.

It also found that the consultation process over the toilets was inadequate.

"The commission recommends that the city reinstall the 51 toilets that they removed and enclose them effectively in terms of national law to ensure safety, cleanliness etcetera," Govender said.

She said the city should do the rebuilding with bricks and mortar.

"We don't want corrugated iron structures. We're saying those are not the sort of structures that afford the kind of right to dignity, to safety, because the issue of safety is a critical issue."


Mushwana said the commission could not recommend corrugated iron when the people living in the area "are telling you what happens in that particular area".

Asked how a brick and mortar toilet was safer than corrugated iron, he said: "In terms of bullets. You can shoot through a corrugated iron and you cannot do so in a mortar. (Those) were the arguments that were advanced."

Asked whether a brick toilet would not have a galvanised iron door like a corrugated iron toilet, he said: "You cannot make the whole structure vulnerable. You can open up if the corrugated iron's all around. I mean, that's what the people who are living there are saying."

"In other words, we are trying to move into a finding that will satisfy both the council and the community."

The city has said that the toilets were erected after it reached agreement with householders that they would build enclosures themselves, and as more than 1 000 other households in the area had done.

It said it did not want to put up permanent enclosures because it planned to redevelop the area.


Mushwana said on Friday, however, that people's dignity could not be "held in abeyance".

"I think whatever we want to do, let us do it properly. Let us suit the dignity, the needs of the people."

"It cannot be postponed on the basis that it's going to be redeveloped later."

Govender said it had to be asked why the council, which had a huge budget, did not prioritise the dignity of residents in an area where unemployment and poverty were rife.

Rulleska Singh, spokesperson for Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato, said the city had not received any formal communication from the commission on the findings.

"Until such time as we get the report, the mayor won't comment on the findings," she said.