Mom arrested for ‘hiding’ murder-accused son

Melanie Muganlall

Melanie Muganlall

Published Mar 1, 2024

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Christin Ramduth, Eva Munsamy, Jennifer Steenkamp and Shaun Sukhlal.

A PHOENIX mother has been arrested after she allegedly aided and abetted her son who was on the run for allegedly shooting a man dead.

Melanie Muganlall, 46, of Eastbury, was arrested after police received a tip-off that she had allegedly helped her son Artish, 21, evade arrest for almost three weeks.

It’s alleged that Muganlall hid him in Umdloti overnight before sending him to Pietermaritzburg – where he hid until his arrest - with a travelling salesman.

She appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of defeating the ends of justice - aiding and abetting.

Artish has been charged with the murder of Wesley Steenkamp, 30, and attempted murder of his cousin, Shaun Sukhlal, 33.

Steenkamp, Sukhlal, and another cousin, also of Eastbury, had gone to watch drag racing in the Springfield Park area when the shooting happened on February 3.

Steenkamp, a truck driver, who was shot multiple times, died at the scene.

Sukhlal, a sales representative, was shot three times, twice in his left arm and in his pelvic area. The father of one has since been discharged from hospital and is awaiting surgery to remove the bullets from his body.

Their younger cousin was not injured.

After almost three weeks, Artish and Muganlall were arrested by detectives from the Sydenham SAPS on February 21 and 23, respectively.

According to a police source, Artish was found hiding at a house in Northdale, Pietermaritzburg.

“Police received information that he was hiding at this property. Our investigations showed that on the morning after the shooting incident, at about 10am, his mother allegedly organised with a person that sells bedding and travels around the country, to take him (Artish) away from Durban. He had initially been hiding in the Umdloti area and was picked up by the person, who is known to the mother and taken out of Durban.

“He was found to be staying in a room of a house shared by many people. Further information received, showed that the mother was aware of his whereabouts at all times and that she was in contact with him.”

State prosecutor, Calvin Govender, did not oppose bail and Muganlall was released on bail of R2000.

Artish was remanded in prison custody and is expected to appear in court next week for a formal bail application.

Scores of family and friends of Steenkamp and Sukhlal, armed with placards, called for no bail outside the court.

Eva Munsamy, Sukhlal’s mother and Steenkamp’s aunt, said she was weeping as she watched both accused take the stand.

“I was not happy hearing that the mother received bail due to the fact she (allegedly) helped her son who was on the run. But, all we want is justice for Wesley. Our lives will never be the same again.

“The one responsible for the shooting must be denied bail and the perpetrators must face the punishment for the crimes they committed. We will not give up in our fight for justice,” she said.

The POST

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