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Family of slain taxi boss want ‘heavy sentence’ imposed on killers

North Coast taxi boss Dustin Pillay who was killed in September 2019. Picture: Supplied

North Coast taxi boss Dustin Pillay who was killed in September 2019. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 2, 2023


Durban — The family of slain North Coast taxi boss Dustin Pillay said his killers should get a heavy sentence because Pillay had a child who is now left without a father.

The Durban High Court on Friday found Cebo Xulu and Thokozani Mthethwa guilty of Pillay’s murder. The pair, who were initially facing 18 charges, were found guilty on 11 counts, including murder; and not guilty on 7 counts.

Pillay was an executive member of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association based in Shakaskraal. He was killed in September 2019. During this time taxi violence was rife in Shakaskraal.

Pillay’s younger brother, Aston, said he was happy justice was going to be served; now it is a matter of how heavy the sentence would be.

“It should be a heavy sentence. Maybe they have children but Dustin also had a child,” he said.

He said his nephew is now 11 years old. Pillay’s mother, Chloe, who has been following the case, said she can’t say anything for now as she is processing her emotions.

When Judge M E Nkosi handed down his judgment he said he found the evidence of Xulu and Mthethwa to be fabricated.

He said Xulu relied on an alibi. Judge Nkosi said the evidence on his alibi by Xulu, the mother of his children, had loopholes.

“Just like any other manufactured evidence it had loopholes. I reject her alibi on the basis that it was false and fabricated,” said Judge Nkosi.

The alibi of Mthethwa was equally shaky, the judge said.

“It showed that it was fabricated to corroborate the alibi of Dlamini (accused Mfanufikile Dlamini, who is now dead),” he said.

Dlamini had initially told police that he was with Mthethwa on the day Pillay was killed. However, Mthethwa only corroborated this during the trial while on the stand. Senior State prosecutor, advocate Elvis Gcweka, asked him why he never revealed this during his bail application. Mthethwa replied that he had told his attorney at the time but it was not written down nor said in court. He added that he had his reasons why he did not tell the police this information when he was arrested.

Judge Nkosi dismissed the evidence of police officers called by the defence and said their evidence was a lie and fabricated. He also rejected the cellphone records provided by advocate GJ Leppan, their attorney. He said the State proved that the pair indeed killed Pillay. He accepted the evidence of State witnesses and said their versions corroborated.

He said he disagreed with Leppan who said the evidence of the first State witness in court and that in a statement was contradictory. Judge Nkosi accepted the witness’s explanation that it might not have been written properly by an officer who took the witness statement. He said this witness was consistent in his evidence and his testimony corroborated with the other State witnesses.

“Not every contradiction affects the credibility of the witness,” said Judge Nkosi.

The State said prior to his death, Pillay had made a number of reports or allegations to police relating to murders being committed in the taxi industry.

The State said Pillay implicated taxi owners and executive members of his association.

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