Accused two tell court how they killed employer

2016-07-19 11:35
Family and friends of murdered businessman Govindaraju Chiannin gathered outside the high court to demand justice for his murder.

Family and friends of murdered businessman Govindaraju Chiannin gathered outside the high court to demand justice for his murder. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Two former employees were found guilty yesterday of strangling Verulam businessman Govindaraju Chinnian (63) to death in a storage container and then dumping heavy bags of cement on his body on May 3.

Bongani Mhlongo and Sizwe Mthethwa pleaded guilty to murdering Chinnian, saying they were unhappy about the way he treated them, and also admitted they stole money and a cellphone from him.

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati will hear evidence in mitigation and aggravation of sentence on Friday.

In a statement read to court by defence advocate Zina Anastasiou yesterday, Mhlongo said he worked for Chinnian at his hardware shop (CNL Hardware) from January. He also helped his neighbour, Mthethwa, to find work there.

However, Mhlongo said by April this year his relationship with his employer had begun to deteriorate.

He said this was after he was on sick leave for a week because he was injured on duty.

“The deceased [Chinnian] refused to pay me during the leave period even though he had witnessed the incident when a block had fallen off the truck and onto me resulting in my back injury,” he said.

He also said he was aggrieved that Chinnian refused to increase wages.

On the day in question, Mthethwa had reported that he was left alone to off-load blocks and sand and when he asked for help, Chinnian refused to provide another labourer, said Mhlongo.

He also alleged that the businessman had “sworn” at Mthethwa at one stage.

At the end of the work day he alleged that Chinnian told them they had to stay after work in case customers arrived late to fetch sand or cement, but refused to pay them overtime.

“I was incensed by the way we were being treated,” said Mhlongo.

He said he told Mthethwa they must kill Chinnian and he agreed.

They had followed the businessman into a cement container and closed the door. “I grabbed [him] from behind and I strangled him until he was no longer breathing and he fell to the floor. I told accused two [Mthethwa] to put bags of cement on [his] legs, which he did. We covered [his] body with bags of cement. Just before we ran away I moved two bags of cement and took money and a cellphone from [his] pocket.”

He said he gave Mthethwa half of the R750 he took and sold the cellphone for R200.

Mthethwa confirmed that he participated in the murder as Mhlongo had described. “I acted in anger and wished I had never agreed [with Mhlongo] to help him kill [Chinnian],” he said.

Chinnian’s son, Pregasen, told The Witness after the hearing that the family “totally disagrees” with the allegation by the two killers that his father ill treated them.

Whilst his father was a “firm businessman” he had looked after his employees and even gave them food from the house, he said.

Family and supporters of the murdered man held a placard demonstration outside the high court yesterday expressing their love for him and demanding justice for his murder.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  court

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