By Keeran Sewsunker
Exactly eight months ago, on Friday March 24, 13 children died after a stampede at the Throb nightclub in Chatsworth. On Monday, the men allegedly responsible for the tragedy which made world headlines will stand trial in the Durban high court.
Selvan "Dog Man" Naidoo, Vincent Pillay and Sivanathan "Bolton" Chetty face 13 charges of murder, 54 charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and a charge of contravening the Teargas Act.
Initially, Dayalan Pillay was charged and Vincent Pillay was a state witness, but at a pre-trial hearing a swop was made. No reasons were given.
More than 120 witnesses are listed in the indictment, but this is expected to be reduced by admitting into evidence the statements of several of the witnesses whose evidence is not in dispute.
Kessie Naidu, a prominent Durban defence advocate, has beens appointed to lead the state's case. He will be assisted by state advocate Santhos Manilall. Judge Jan Hugo will preside.
The children who died were Guresha Naidoo, 15, Jadeine Mohunlal, 11, Junaid Gaffoor, 18, Leerosha Sowrimuthu, 14, Nolan Pillay, 17, Prean Govindasamy, 15, Rory Lazarus Soobramoney, 15, Shantal Maduray, 16, Sumeshen Govender, 12, Vaneshree Pillay, 16, Preston Premsingh, 13, Sumaya Kudoos, 16, and Sumaya Jhetham, 13.
According to the indictment, the state alleges that the tragedy had happened as a result of rivalry between Throb nightclub and the nearby Silver Slipper nightclub, where Chetty was the co-owner and manager.
Both clubs held end-of-term matinees.