Shot cop’s daily dread

2018-06-05 16:00
Constable Dinesh Govender and his wife Reshmee before the shooting.

Constable Dinesh Govender and his wife Reshmee before the shooting. (File)

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Shot on duty three years ago while attending to a robbery scene in Eastwood, policeman Dinesh Govender lives in constant fear that it will happen again.

“Every day I go to work, knowing that I might not return home,” Govender said in a victim impact statement that was included in a high court judgment in which three men were jailed for 25 years for the attack on Govender and another policeman.

Govender added that his scars will always remind him of the shooting, and of how his child spent most of the second year of her life with him in hospital.

“All I can say is that my life and my family’s lives will never be the same due to other human beings’ greedy and selfish acts.”

Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Jerome Mnguni on Monday included Govender’s emotionally charged statement as part of his judgment in sentencing three men who attempted to murder Govender and another policeman, Reginald Iyer, to 10 years’ imprisonment and an additional 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances — a total of 25 years.

Fortune Simphiwe Msomi (31), Style Alex Auto Mgeyane (31) and Sphamandla Welcome Mbonambi (42), all of Hillcrest, were part of a gang that robbed an Eastwood factory.

The judge said that on the morning of April 28, 2015, the men and their accomplices went to rob the business owners, Chinese nationals Kang Weng and his wife Qizhu Zhen. They knew the owners kept money and thought they would walk away with R3 million.

“You armed yourselves with various firearms and AK47 assault rifles,” Judge Mnguni said.

He added that the men abandoned their first attempt to rob the business because they “felt that something was going to go wrong”.

They returned that evening and accosted the guard. They then waited for Weng and instructed the guard to open the gate as normal. The men took Weng inside the premises and robbed him of R80 000 cash and other items.

A security official was first to arrive at the scene, having responded to a panic button alarm. The robbers took his firearm and held him at gunpoint in the guard room. Soon afterwards Govender and Iyer arrived.

Judge Mnguni said the men fired shots at them, seriously injuring Govender. The doctor told him he was lucky to be alive. A portion of his lung had to be removed as a result of being shot by a high velocity firearm.

The judge then referred to the victim impact statements made by Govender and his wife Reshmee.

In them, Govender described the psychological, emotional and physical trauma he suffered because of the crime as well as his and his family’s financial loss.

“I give my life to the police but the police have not been there to support me,” said Govender.

He spoke about his follow-up visits to hospital and how the bills started to pile up. It took a great toll on him and his family, but they supported each other, he said.

His wife spoke about how her life changed the moment she heard her husband had been shot. When he came home from hospital, he could not talk, walk, eat or drink. She had to assist him with everything.

Describing the shooting, Govender said: “As soon as I got out of the vehicle I heard the sounds of guns going off.

“I could see flashes as if it were fireworks and time just stood still. I suddenly became aware of a warm wet feeling running down the left side of my chest …

“All I could see was blood spraying and I could feel that I was getting weak and I just remember going down next to the vehicle and I must have lost consciousness.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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