Birthday bouquet sparks deadly feud
Johannesburg - Eighteen years after a man witnessed the brutal killing of his teenage brother and the attempted murder of his mother, he walked into the home of his brother’s killer and shot him dead on the day he was released on parole.
Within minutes Alistaire Ramdin was also dead, killed by bullets fired in a scuffle inside the killer Shiraaz Saloojee’s house, and brutally stabbed by the killer’s family who had come to celebrate his freedom.
Their deaths on December 21 were the fifth and sixth in a bloody feud that had lasted two decades.
Police confirmed this week that no arrests had been made in connection with the December killings.
The feud dates back to January 1995 when Alistaire’s father, Jaynaryan, killed Lenasia businessman Dawood Motala. The businessman had sent flowers to Jaynaryan’s wife, Latchmee Ramdin, to celebrate her birthday.
It’s believed that the father thought the pair, who worked together at Dawood’s hardware store in the area, had become too close.
Sources close to the case say there had been suspicions that Latchmee had had a relationship with her boss.
On January 16, Dawood phoned the Ramdin home to say he was sending Latchmee flowers for her birthday.
This angered Jaynaryan. When Latchmee arrived home from work with her boss that day, he and Dawood had an argument. In the end Dawood and his nephew, Ismail Tutla, who was visiting from India, lay dead at the Ramdin home.
A judge ruled in August that year that Jaynaryan had acted in self-defence on the day he and Dawood become embroiled in an argument at the Ramdin home. He was acquitted of two murder charges.
On the day that Jaynaryan was acquitted, he and his family were relieved and elated.
But it would be short-lived.
As he walked out of the court building, a free man, he was accosted in Smal Street Mall in central Joburg, just metres away from the high court.
A Saloojee family friend, Imran Khan, fired several shots. Jaynaryan was dead. His body lay on the street.
Thirty minutes later in Geranium Street, Lenasia, Latchmee received the good news of her husband’s acquittal from a relative. Her husband was free.
As she replaced the receiver, she peeped through her bedroom window and watched helplessly as two men, Shiraaz and his brother, Salim, armed with guns, burst into the house. Her son, Jermaine Ramdin, who was 15 at the time, tried to lock the security gate, but it was too late.
He screamed for them not to hurt his mother, but they shot him at close range.
When the police arrived Jermaine was dead, Latchmee was critically wounded and her younger son, Elvin, was found hiding under the bed. Alistaire had fled after witnessing the killing.
Witnesses later identified the gunmen as Shiraaz and his brother, Salim Saloojee. They were arrested.
It took three months for Judge John Coetzee to reach a verdict.
In his judgment he found that, minutes after Jaynarain’s acquittal, Imran had run to his car in a rage, shouting for his gun, because “justice had not been done”.
He caught up with Jaynaryan in Smal Street Mall and fired several shots at his back. Jaynaryan died instantly from one of the bullets.
Judge Coetzee said that the killings showed a complete contempt for the law, and were motivated by revenge for the deaths of Dawood and his nephew, Ismail.
He said that the shooting of Latchmee, who had been left crippled by the incident, the fatal shooting of her eldest son, and the attack on her youngest son, who narrowly escaped a bullet, were “deliberate”, “cold-blooded”, “vicious and callous” acts.
He said the callous shootings showed that the accused had no respect for human life and that they had shown no remorse.
Shiraaz and Imran were sentenced to an effective 40 years in prison, while Salim was sentenced to an effective 20 years. While the trial was in progress, the Ramdin family had lived in fear – their home had been petrol-bombed half a dozen times, a relative was attacked with an axe and Alistaire was kidnapped and taken to a warehouse where there was an attempt to hang him.
The feud had not cooled and in December last year,
Alistaire allegedly targeted the Saloojee brothers and left blood on the walls of the family home.
This week, neither the Saloojee nor the Ramdin families wanted to speak about the feud and bloody murders.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale confirmed that two cases of murder had been opened.
To date, six people have died and those involved in the feud, all afraid to speak to the press, live in fear.