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Judgment in taxi boss murder case delayed

The Durban High Court is to hand down its judgment in the murder case of taxi boss Dustin Pillay towards the end of September. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

The Durban High Court is to hand down its judgment in the murder case of taxi boss Dustin Pillay towards the end of September. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 15, 2023


Durban — The Durban High Court will hand down its judgment towards the end of this month in the murder case of North Coast taxi boss Dustin Pillay.

Judge ME Nkosi said the court had to go through the evidence and would not be able to hand down the judgment today. Due to the unavailability of the legal representatives and the judge on earlier dates, it was agreed that the judgment would be handed down towards the end of the month.

Pillay, an executive member of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association, based in Shakaskraal, was gunned down in September 2019. At the time of his death, the taxi violence was rife in this area. Cebo Xulu and Thokozani Mthethwa are accused of his murder. Together they face 18 charges including theft of a motor vehicle and eight attempted murder charges.

The State senior prosecutor advocate Elvis Gcweka said the evidence of the accused was not true and that they were trying to corroborate it with that of a dead accused, Mfanufikile Dlamini.

“Their evidence is non-existent; it’s just opportunistic now that Dlamini is not alive,” he said.

Gcweka said Xulu cannot be trusted, because he said he had a taxi but that taxi was not under his name and he does not even have a permit. He said Xulu’s alibi, who is the mother of his children, was not a reliable witness. They had both said on the day and time Pillay was killed they were together. They further said on that day they were going to buy heritage clothes for their child.

“They both said different things on what clothes were bought for the child,” said Gcweka.

Taxi boss Dustin Pillay. Picture: Supplied

He said that a white Jeep that was used by the accused as the getaway car was cloned as it had the same number plate as that of another Jeep in Gauteng. Moreover, the Jeep was found to belong to someone else in Gauteng. He said the State had overwhelming evidence that the pair killed Pillay. Gcweka said the State witnesses were honest and reliable.

He further dismissed the evidence of Mthethwa that this was a plot by witnesses working with a certain Mhlongo to implicate them. He said the witnesses had no personal vendetta against the accused.

He said people fighting were Pillay and then chairperson of the association David Richard. He said a witness employed by Mhlongo, who is close to him, did not know the names of the accused but was able to point them out in court.

Counsel for the defence advocate GJ Leppan said Xulu and Mthethwa’s evidence was the truth. Leppan dismissed the evidence of the Jeep. He said there was evidence that Dlamini was at Hammarsdale in Mpumalanga and at Isipingo pound on the day of the incident. He said a sergeant from Isipingo said so.

However, Judge Nkosi reminded Leppan that the sergeant said he could not recall on which day Dlamini was at the pound.

“The issue is that Dlamini had to leave in a hurry because he received a call that there was a shooting at his home. He asked the sergeant to pass the message to his colleague but when the sergeant is now leaving, he sees Dlamini in the parking lot.”

Judge Nkosi said as a person who was rushing, Dlamini would have got to his car and left immediately. Leppan replied by saying why would a sergeant lie. But Judge Nkosi reminded him that a vehicle not belonging to Dlamini was released to him at Isipingo pound.

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