Durban – Hijackers are likely to commit more than 100 crimes each before being caught.
That was highlighted this week by Unisa professor in policing and forensic investigation Rudolp Zinn, who was commenting on cold cases involving serious crime.
Durban resident Nathan Ganas was brutally gunned down in his Shallcross driveway in March, 2017 and no arrests have been made.
He was shot three times as he defended his family against four armed men as they held up his wife Denise in the driveway while she was chatting to a neighbour.
Now a widow for over three years, it’s been a tough journey for Denise and the couple’s two children as they put their shattered lives back together. The couple would have celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary on October 31.
Denise took the spotlight in November 2018 when, in a David and Goliath face-off, she took insurance giant Momentum to task for refusing to pay out her husband’s R2.4 million policy.
After immense public pressure, Momentum buckled and paid Ganas.
This week, Denise said her husband had died a hero, saving his family, and she was angry that there had still been no arrests for his murder.
Reliving the night of the attack, she said four men arrived in a silver grey Golf 5, with the main suspect in a balaclava, holding a rifle.
“My husband’s friend had used our driveway to park his car and visit the neighbours.
“The suspects probably thought it was my car,” said Denise, adding that the shooting started as she repeatedly tried to tell the suspects she did not have the keys to the car in the driveway.
“During the attack, I think my adrenaline kicked in, as I was screaming at the balaclava guy. I only dropped to the floor when the other suspects on the road fired in my direction.
“I was told my hubby screamed for me to duck down, but I didn’t hear a thing. Only when I got back into the property did I hear my baby scream: ‘Mummy, I’m shot and I’m bleeding.”
Her daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, had been shot in the arm as bullets ripped through the front of their modest home.
“That’s when I saw my husband lying on the ground. It was only then I realised he had been shot. I knelt down next to him, held his face and said, ‘don’t worry babe, you are going to be fine’, before getting to my daughter to try and stop her bleeding. That was the last time I saw him alive.
“I was told later that after that second shot was fired by the gunman, my husband ran outside and was shot three times by the suspects.”
“Just before the incident, we were sitting in the lounge having tea. He held my hand, perhaps it was a sign, it was the last time we were together before he was taken from us.”
Blue Security arrived at the scene and called for an ambulance.
“I’m not sure how long it took for the police to come as I went in the ambulance with my baby to Chatsmed and my hubby had already been taken to RK Khan Hospital by a friend in his car as he was losing too much blood.”
When Denise returned from the hospital, she was told her husband had passed away.
“The area was cordoned off and police and forensics were at the house.
“I was numb the next day. I couldn’t believe what was happening, hoping it was just a dream and Nathan was going to walk through the door at any minute.
“It brings me so much anger and hurt about all they took that night – my husband’s life – and left my whole family traumatised,” she said.
In the months that followed, there have been two detectives on the case, with the last police visit in November last year from the first detective assigned to the case, who told her they were awaiting a ballistics report.
“I also met with Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, who said Ipid would investigate and we must all leave our details. That was over two years ago.”
Denise said they had many plans for their future ahead.
“He (Nathan Ganas) has missed milestones in our children’s lives. The fact that I have lost my soulmate and my kids have lost their father … we still have to face the fact that this is a cold case, with so much injustice being done. My husband has become just another statistic with regard to the crime.”
Professor Zinn said on Thursday that from interviews and research conducted with hijackers in prison, each had committed, on average, 107 crimes before being caught.
“A very common thread is that they say there’s a slim chance of getting caught. They know they will get away with it (crime).
“In South Africa a case cannot be closed and old cases are brought forward from time to time. As a former policeman, the most basic thing to do is follow up on ballistics.
“It’s not difficult to solve a crime, your crime intelligence networks are important, you have to have a good network of informers.
“When there are no arrests, the victim’s family will still feel threatened, knowing those same people who committed the crime are still around,” said Zinn.
KZN SAPS media did not respond to a request for comment.
The Independent on Saturday