‘No tears’ for wife killer Manilal

2017-07-26 13:48
Murder victim Monika Manilall, the ‘other woman’ Mumtaz Osman and Sunesh Manilall.

Murder victim Monika Manilall, the ‘other woman’ Mumtaz Osman and Sunesh Manilall. (File)

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Eleven years after his wife Monika Manilall was brutally shot dead in her Howick West home, her killer husband, Sunesh, met a similar fate but at his own hand on Monday night.

In what some described as a “cowardly act” and others termed a “tragedy”, Manilall, owner of Echo Auto Electrical in Howick, apparently chose to shoot himself rather than go to jail for the rest of his life.

He was due to be served with a notice to surrender himself to the authorities to start serving his jail term on Tuesday, NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara confirmed.

After learning the net was closing in on him Manilall went into the yard of the family home, which he shared with his parents, his third wife and his three children (two born of his marriage with Monika), and shot himself shortly after 8 pm.

Earlier on Monday justice officials in Pietermaritzburg were alerted to the fact that the Constitutional Court had dismissed Manilall’s final bid to appeal his conviction and sentence as far back as January 30. It remains a mystery how the ruling was not picked up earlier by officials at the high court.

Ironically, the person who “blew the whistle” on Manilall was the brother of his second wife, Mumtaz Osman, the “other woman” in Manilall’s life at the time of Monika’s murder on February 3, 2006. She became his second wife when he later married her under Muslim rites.

Aziz Rashid called the Constitutional Court last Friday to inquire about the status of the matter in his quest to see that justice was done in the case, and discovered that despite the Concourt’s ruling on January 30, Manilall was still free.

In 2010 Osman started serving a life sentence for her role in the carefully planned murder, which was carried out by hired gunmen. Her family had made no secret of the fact that they wanted to see Manilall get his just deserts.

Osman had also denied her guilt until August 2013, when she confessed to The Witness during a pre-arranged interview at Westville Prison, and pointed to Sunesh as the mastermind behind the murder plot.

Also serving life sentences are the “middle man”, Victor Mbatha, and one of the assassins, Siyabonga Mdlalose, who admitted pulling the trigger that killed Monika Manilall.

Residents living near Manilall’s home told The Witness on Tuesday they did not hear any shooting.

However, one neighbour said he knew something was up when he saw the flickering red lights of an ambulance and blue police lights pull up at Manilall’s house, but he did not go to investigate. Another said, “Apparently his [Sunesh’s] lawyer called him to tell him that he will have to surrender to prison today [Tuesday] and rather than do that he went into the yard and shot himself.”

When The Witness visited the scene on Tuesday, mourners were arriving at the Manilall home in a steady stream to pay their respects to Manilall’s bereaved family members. A large white tent had been erected at the entrance to the house where the family greeted their supporters.

The Witness was told family members had “no comment” at the present time.

Suren and Ashika Ramjas — Monika’s brother and sister — said they can now finally get closure.

“He took the easy route out. It was a cowardly thing to do, but we were frankly not surprised and at the end of the day justice has been served,” Suren Ramjas told The Witness.

He said they had a “feeling” Manilall would “do anything, even commit suicide” to avoid going to prison because it was rumoured that when he previously had a taste of it he “couldn’t handle” prison life.

“If you do the crime you must be prepared to do the time,” he added.

His sister, Ashika, said though sad for Manilall’s children and the trauma they had to endure, she would not shed tears for him.

She said Manilall had stopped Monika’s family from having contact with her children and she hoped that this might change in future.

Yasmin Rashid, mother of Mumtaz Osman, said she had passed on news of Manilall’s death to her daughter when Osman called her routinely from prison to ask after her health. “She is fine, that is all I can say,” she said.

Rashid said she was unable to feel sympathy for Manilall. “God is great. I always believed that God was the greatest judge,” she said in a text message.

KZN provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said in reply to an inquiry about Manilall’s shooting an inquest docket had been opened in connection with the case. “No foul play is suspected,” she said.

Read more on the Manilall murder trial.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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