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Killers of taxi boss lose bid to appeal against their convictions

Taxi boss Dustin Pillay. Picture: Facebook

Taxi boss Dustin Pillay. Picture: Facebook

Published Nov 6, 2023


Durban — The Durban High Court has refused leave to appeal to the North Coast taxi boss murderers Cebo Xulu and Thokozani “Ndayi” Mthethwa.

The pair were recently sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Dustin Pillay of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association in September 2019.

They were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for the other crimes they committed, which included attempted murder.

They had applied for leave to appeal against the sentence and all their convictions.

Judge ME Nkosi on Friday refused them leave to appeal against their conviction.

However, the judge granted them leave to appeal against the 10-year sentence.

The life imprisonment sentence still stands.

Advocate GJ Leppan told the court it should have ordered all the sentences to run concurrently and referred the court to other cases.

However, senior State prosecutor advocate Elvis Gcweka said in those cases the court had specified that the sentences do not run concurrently.

“In this case, this court said they are sentenced to life imprisonment and 10 years. If there was an order that the sentences should not run concurrently, it was going to be a violation of the Correctional Services Act,” Gcweka said.

Judge Nkosi agreed with Gcweka. “The court agrees with the State that it did not say that the sentences must not run concurrently,” Judge Nkosi said to clarify that he would grant the appeal on that aspect.

Leppan said there was clear evidence that a dead co-accused of the pair, Mfanufikile “Khe” Dlamini, was at Isipingo Pound on the day Pillay was shot and killed. During the trial Mthethwa testified that he was at the pound with Dlamini. But a police officer from the pound who was on the stand did not corroborate his evidence.

Leppan said another court would look at the evidence of the cellphone records differently. However, Gcweka said the State made it clear that it was not relying on them and that the pair were the ones who requested cellphone records when the trial was about to start in 2022.

“Now they want this court to put reliance on cellphone records. On those bases, there are no reasonable reasons that another court might come to a different decision than the one made by this court,” he said.

Judge Nkosi agreed and said no other court would have a different decision. He said the evidence of Dlamini being at the pound on that day was not conclusive. During the trial the court learnt that the police officer whom Dlamini claimed to have seen at the pound that day, made two statements.

In the first one, he denied that Dlamini came to the pound. He also said there were no records of Dlamini being at the pound.

In the second statement, he stated that his colleague reminded him that Dlamini was at the pound. The sergeant testified he could not remember when Dlamini came to the pound. It was also revealed in court that Dlamini was given a vehicle that did not belong to him at this pound.

Judge Nkosi said the court looked at the evidence of both sides and it was more inclined to accept the evidence of the State as it proved beyond reasonable doubt that the trio were at the crime scene on that fateful day.

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