A well-known businessman who admitted to killing his brother was set free by a Durban court just over two hours after the trial started after he claimed that it was done in self defence.
Mansook Valjee had been charged with the murder of his brother Himantlal Valjee, who was shot and killed on August 28 1999.
The shooting allegedly took place while the brothers were arguing over renovations being undertaken at a family-owned building in the Beatrice Street area, where many of the first Indians to arrive in South Africa in the late 1800's set up their businesses.
The Valjee family is highly respected in the community as owners of a number
of clothing factories. Himantlal Valjee owned a supermarket on the ground
floor of the building where he was killed.
The killing has caused great tension in the extended, but close
knit Valjee family, most of who live together in the same street.
One of the daughters of the deceased told reporters that her uncle did not
show any remorse for his action. Her mother said she was not satisfied with
the acquittal of her brother-in-law, but would now "leave things in god's
Valjee said he was glad that the matter had come to finality. He was acquitted
on grounds of insufficient evidence for the state to prove his guilt.
The main witness, a contract labourer called Nelson Gampe, who was working on the building site, testified that on the day of the killing, Himantlal Valjee had entered the building and threatened the workers with arrest if they did not stop work.
Gampe said Mansook Valjee swore at him and told him to go away, and the
workers resumed their tasks. He said Himantlal Valjee returned after a while
and a scuffle followed between the brothers, during which Mansook Valjee
pulled out his gun and shot his brother.
Indo-Asian News Service
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