Justice for Miguel is served
TWO years and eight months have passed since the body of Miguel Louw was found and Detective Warrant Officer Rajan Govender is relieved that justice has finally been served for the little boy.
Govender, from KZN’s Provincial Investigation Unit, who spent sleepless nights investigating and piecing evidence together, said he was pleased with the 34-year sentence handed to convicted killer and kidnapper Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim last Wednesday.
Deviating from the minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment, Judge Jacqueline Henriques gave Ebrahim 25 years for premeditated murder.
He was sentenced to a further eight years for kidnapping and 18 months for theft – both of which will run concurrently with the murder sentence.
Govender, hailed by Judge Henriques for his high level of professionalism and going above the call of duty, said he was satisfied with the court outcome.
“A term of life imprisonment is always the desired sentence.
“However, having heard the learned judge’s detailed reasons for her sentence, I am satisfied that a term of 25 years’ imprisonment strikes a proper balance among all the competing interests during sentencing.
“I am relieved that we found the deceased when we did and brought his murderer to book.
“The investigations were painstakingly detailed, and of a highly technical nature.
“The evidence that was led became the voice of Miguel in court. Ultimately, I am happy that little Miguel’s soul can finally rest in peace," said Govender.
Ebrahim, 46, who maintained his innocence from the onset, was found to have kidnapped 9-year-old Miguel after his mother Raylene Louw rejected several of his romantic advances.
He also stole Raylene’s ID, as well as Miguel and his sister’s birth certificates.
Miguel, a Grade 4 pupil at Rippon Road Primary in Sydenham was last seen alive while in the company of Ebrahim in July 2018.
Camera footage caught Ebrahim with Miguel at KFC and they later approached a taxi together.
Miguel’s decomposing body was found two months later in a shallow grave in Longberry Drive, Phoenix, near the accused’s home.
Post-mortem results found that the cause of death was inconclusive due to the severe state of decomposition.
Dr Salona Prahladh said strangulation was possible.
During sentencing, Judge Henriques acknowledged the argument of advocate Jay Naidoo, defence counsel for the accused, in that there was no direct evidence linking the accused to the murder and that it was purely circumstantial.
Judge Henriques said she had to be objective and weighed both mitigating and aggravating factors.
“I must acknowledge the seriousness of the offence and that Miguel’s life was cut short but, in deciding on an appropriate sentence, I have to be balanced.
“Whatever sentence is imposed must not to be to satisfy society’s demand for revenge,” the judge said.
Miguel’s family shouted praises to God as they exited the courtroom.
His mother Raylene, however, missed the case as she was unable to make it.
Miguel’s aunt Tasneem Dos Santos said Miguel’s mother moved to Pretoria to try to heal emotionally and mentally.
She said it was heartbreaking that Ebrahim showed no remorse and never told the family what transpired after he took Miguel away.
“We will never really know what happened,” said Dos Santos.
Zulfia Yunus, sister of convicted killer Ebrahim, said she was not pleased with the court outcome.
“We are not happy with the ruling. There was no justice for my brother.
“He doesn’t deserve this,” said Yunus.