After a two year court battle, the family of Cst Samantha Govender can finally have closure after the man accused of running her over, Rubesh Chunder, was sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide, last week.
The 2013 senseless killing of the beloved Phoenix SAPS officer sent shockwaves through the Phoenix and Tongaat community. Among the most affected by the death and subsequent trial for the accused, has been Govender’s mother, Saras.
On the night of the incident, Govender and some of her family members were at a nightclub known as Cube at the time of the incident. Cst Govender’s sister, Kamani Govender, was with her on the night she was run over.
She described to the Phoenix Sun how her sister was walking to a friend’s flat at 3am when their group of family and friends became embroiled in an argument with another group of people outside the club. The brave officer stepped in and managed to break up the fight and the group walked away.
Within minutes, Chunder, who was part of the other group, had got into his car and started speeding in the direction of the Govender family. The driver ploughed into the group and knocked over Cst Govender before fleeing the scene. One of the injured men was in fact the suspect’s own brother who was also rushed to hospital. Govender was taken to hospital and died not long after the incident. She left behind a grieving partner and family and an infant daughter.
Her mother, Saras, described the last two years as a living nightmare. She said, “Nothing will ever make me get over this. I just wanted to see justice served. The accused pleaded innocent to the charge so we had to sit through a court case. Finally on January 24, he was found guilty at the Verulam Court.”
Mrs Govender confesses that she was not always convinced that he would be found guilty and spent many sleepless nights worrying about the outcome of the trial. “I was infuriated the first time I saw him. I honestly would have liked an apology at the beginning. It would not have brought her back but it would have at least shown remorse, but he maintained his innocence right up to the end. I couldn’t bear to look at him,” added the tearful mother.
For the Govender family, five years is far too small a price to repay for the loss that they have suffered but the family take some comfort in the fact that justice has finally run its course. She said, “Losing a child is something that I will wish on nobody. You can survive anything except the death of a child. I would like to thank Durban North SAPS and all the officials involved who helped secure this conviction.”
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