It was an emotional moment for the family of Food Lover’s Market manager Naieem Mohamed when his killer, Innocent Hadebe, pleaded guilty in the Durban High Court to murdering his employer, saying he was fed up with being ill-treated, told he was useless and called a “small boy”.

Hadebe was arrested for Mohamed’s murder soon after his body was found inside the shop on December 2, 2016.

Mohamed had been stabbed several times. The main doors to the Morningside shop were found to be unlocked although there was a notice on them that the shop was closed.

Mohamed’s body was discovered by a worker from a nearby shop who was suspicious about why the doors were not locked and lights still on late in the evening.

Hadebe was also charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances of R45 000 which he admitted to having taken from the shop, along with Mohamed’s wallet and cellphone. The charge was yesterday changed to theft.

In his plea statement read to the court which was packed with Mohamed’s family on Tuesday, Hadebe said he murdered Mohamed but disputed the charge of theft, saying that he did not rob him but took the money from the shop after killing him.

He said Mohamed was one of his two managers and their relationship had been sour for some time.

Hadebe claimed Mohamed often called him names such as “small boy” and used k***** to address him sometimes, which made him angry and feel small.

“He told me that I earned too much for doing nothing and even lowered my daily pay to R60. I even considered leaving the job a number of times,” he said.

Hadebe said he did not enjoy going to work because the humiliation took place in front of other employees.

He said in one incident, Mohamed gave him a pie, but before he could eat it a colleague warned him that it was stale, and when he opened it he found that it contained worms.

He wanted to ask Mohamed why he had given him a pie with worms, but he was too terrified of him. He said as time went by, he finally had the courage to confront him and Mohamed told him that he was a “small boy” and fired him.

“Everything came rushing back: all the name calling. I remembered that I had a pocket knife that I kept for safety for when I walked to the taxi rank in the evenings. I stabbed him on his back. I do not know how many times I stabbed him. I then took his wallet from his pocket before taking R45000 from the shop and then his cellphone from the counter.

“Although I was full of anger and frustration at the way he treated me, I was well aware that my actions were wrong. I am remorseful and I regret what I did.

“I know that I am a disappointment to both the family of the deceased and my own family. I am sorry to the family of the deceased,” Hadebe said.

Outside court, Mohamed’s wife Krishnie said that it was hurtful to hear Hadebe lie about her husband and paint him as a bad person.

“He lied about why he murdered my husband. He planned the whole thing and knew that he would be the last person to be with him in the shop.

“My husband was a good person, he would not hurt another person. The story about the pie is a lie. He was a father of two children, he would never do that to another person.”

Hadebe is expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Daily News