Durban – MINUTES after allegedly suffocating a Newcastle pensioner to death, two robbers used his cellphone to send his family a text message that read “please help me I am dying”.
Sivedeyal Jubraj, 90, a retired car salesman, was found dead with his hands and legs bound by cable ties on Friday. This was hours after South Africa’s lockdown eased to Level 4.
He lived alone in his three- bedroom Arborpark home after his wife, Margory, died in 2012.
A relative, who declined to be named, said two family members had said they had received messages from Jubraj’s cellphone requesting help.
“The message read ‘please help me I am dying’. This did not make sense to me because he did not know how to send a text message. If he needed us, he always called, especially if it was urgent,” the relative said.
When he arrived at the home, he noticed Jubraj’s car, a Chevrolet Spark, was not in the driveway.
“The door to the home was opened and I walked in. I called out for him but there was no answer. I walked toward the passage and found his body.
“His hands and legs were bound with cable ties. I just began to cry. There was a towel and a vest next to his body. I believe these items were used to suffocate him.”
He said that while waiting for the police to arrive, he looked for Jubraj’s cellphone.
“I could not find it. The television was also missing. The entire house was ransacked. Cupboards were open and his belongings were thrown all over. Later that day, a neighbour told me she last saw him talking to two men. I believe they overpowered him and gained entry into the house.”
He said Jubraj, a father of four, was independent and preferred to live on his own.
“He lived in the home for 30 years. He liked having his own space and we respected his wishes. He did everything for himself. I would see him every afternoon to take him his supper and check on him. I don’t understand why these robbers had to kill him. He was an elderly person and did not deserve to die in this manner.”
The relative described Jubraj’s attackers as ruthless.
“I still find it unbelievable that they could even text our family to say he is dying. This is all too much for us.”
The suspects were arrested on Sunday morning in Osizweni township while in possession of Jubraj’s vehicle.
They were expected to appear in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
“We are glad these men are caught and we hope we get justice for his killing.”
The post-mortem results confirmed Jubraj was suffocated. He was cremated on Sunday.
Rajesh Ramdaw, the chairperson of the Newcastle Community Police Forum, said since the lockdown a few suspects were arrested for petty theft.
“This is the first killing in the community after many years.”
Captain Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said a case of murder is being investigated.
By Charlene Somduth