N3 attack: Victim admits accused didn’t pre-meditate

2008-10-28 00:00

Sarah Sathar, who was shot 11 times on the N3 while travelling to visit her son in prison in Pietermaritzburg last May, said yesterday she accepts that the shooting happened “by chance” and was not pre-planned.

Sathar was under cross-examination in the high court by defence advocate Jimmy Howse, representing Mohamed Azeem Yunus (34), who has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder.

Howse questioned why, if Sathar believed her meeting with Yunus happened by chance that day, it was suggested at his bail application that the shooting was premeditated.

Sathar said she did not testify at the bail hearing.

“I do not think [the shooting] was planned for that day. I think he took the opportunity … but if it was planned for that day, he would never have had his two-year-old baby in the car,” she said.

Sathar insisted that Yunus’s wife, Tasneem, an attorney, and the couple’s baby were in the car with another person when the incident happened.

She testified that just before Yunus’s hand emerged from his vehicle window and started shooting, she heard his wife shout: “Kill them”.

However, she told Judge Achmat Jappie and an assessor that she now believes Tasneem may have called out: “Don’t kill them”, because Tasneem had never done her any harm.

Sathar admitted that a rift developed and animosity grew between the Sathar and Yunus families after her son, Mohamed Shoaib Sathar, was charged with the murder of Yunus’s sister, Safia, in September 2005.

She claimed in evidence that the animosity led to “false allegations” by Yunus against her husband and herself.

She agreed that Yunus laid a charge against them of conspiracy to kill him. However, she said nothing ever came of that charge or of other “false” allegations.

She was aware that a man named Mohamed Safras Khan gave a statement to police about the alleged conspiracy to kill Yunus, but said Khan was “angry” with her husband at the time because he refused to give him money in exchange for information Khan claimed he had about Safia’s “real” killer.

She said she knew nothing of an alleged incident when a black man was taken to the Yunus family home in the boot of a car and made to “confess” to being the “real killer”, allegedly in another bid by the Sathar family to clear their son of the murder charge.

She said a black man named Imboyi did come forward with information, but when they informed the Yunus family about this they became “very angry” and accused the Sathars of trying to put the blame on someone else.

“So we just left it,” she said.

Sathar said that in January 2006 she obtained a domestic violence interdict against Yunus and his mother, who continually swore at members of her family and spat in front of them. She admitted that she exaggerated in her affidavit when she said that she felt the need to always carry a firearm.

Sathar again denied yesterday that she was armed with a gun the day she and her eight-year-old daughter were shot, and the driver of their bakkie, Vinod Ramsarup, was killed on the N3.

She also denied that she provoked Yunus into shooting at them.

The case is proceeding.

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