Gardener accused of strangling Phoenix woman Rajani Devi Reuban to spend life in prison

Rajani Devi Reuben was strangled to death. Picture: Supplied

Rajani Devi Reuben was strangled to death. Picture: Supplied

Published May 22, 2024


A 37-year-old man who strangled a Phoenix pensioner to death in September 2022, has been handed a life sentence.

Siviwe Magugu was sentenced in the Durban High Court and handed an additional 15 year sentence for robbery.

Rajani Devi Reuban lived in Foresthaven in Phoenix with her son and hired Magugu as a gardener.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Magugu would also perform odd jobs about Reuban's home.

"On September 9, Magugu reported to work, and at some point, he strangled Reuban and stole her belongings including cash, her cell phone, a TV, a sound system as well as jewellery. Magugu then fled the scene and was arrested after police followed up on leads from informer networks, and Reuban’s family members," said NPA spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara.

Police had initially arrested Menolan Naidoo. However, the charges were dropped and he turned State witness.

In leading Naidoo's testimony as well as circumstantial evidence and a victim impact statement from Reuben's children, the court heard how the deceased's family was left traumatised following her death.

"They said that their lives have been drastically changed. They described their mother as the heartbeat of their family. Magugu was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 15 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances. The sentences will run concurrently, and Magugu was declared unfit to possess a firearm," Ramkisson-Kara said.

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