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Slain taxi boss’s family hails prosecutor and judge as killers get life sentences

Dustin Pillay. Picture: Facebook

Dustin Pillay. Picture: Facebook

Published Oct 23, 2023

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Durban — The mother of a slain North Coast taxi boss said therapy did not help her in trying to process the murder of her son.

Taxi boss Dustin Pillay was killed in September 2019 by Thokozani Mthethwa, who shot him at close range. In committing the crime he was with his friends Cebo Xulu and Mfanufikile Dlamini. Dlamini died in custody.

The killers were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Durban High Court on Friday.

The family, which asked to not be named for security reasons, welcomed the sentencing and said it was fair. Pillay’s father said he doubted that the appeal by the killers would be a success.

“The judge and the prosecutor did an excellent job,” he said.

After the sentencing advocate GJ Leppan said they would appeal the sentence. Pillay’s brother said although the sentence was fair he had not got closure.

“You can’t get any closure on the death of a family member,” he said.

In a victim impact statement read in court during mitigation of sentence by senior State prosecutor advocate Elvis Gcweka, Pillay’s mother said she still felt a punch in her gut whenever she tried to relate what happened the day her son was taken away from her.

She said on the day Pillay was gunned down, she received a message there was a shooting in Shakaskraal. She said she was upset there was another shooting. Moreover, the person who had sent her the message said Pillay might have been the one shot, she said.

“I called him but he did not answer. That is when I realised that it might be him. I don’t remember what happened after that but a part of me died that day,” said the mother.

Moreover, she said, despite being a high-earning real estate agent, ever since the death of her son she has not sold any property. The mother added she had planned to retire but after the death of her son she had to adjust her life and take care of her grandson.

“I am stressed on a daily basis. Should anything happen to me, what will happen to my grandchild?” said Pillay’s mom.

Pillay’s father, who is living with a disability, said his son was the one who managed the taxis, but now that he was gone he had had to go back and manage them. He said he was the founding member of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association. He said because of his disability he had had to employ people to assist him.

Since his son’s death, he said, the association had been extremely peaceful and there has not been any conflicts.

“Do you know why there is peace?” asked Gcweka.

The father replied it would be hard to explain why, but maybe it was because many had died. About eight people had died before his son’s murder, he said. Of all the killings that took place in Shakaskraal prior to his son’s death, this was the first murder to have been solved, he added.

“No one was arrested for the other deaths at Shakaskraal,” he said.

Judge M E Nkosi sentenced the killers to life imprisonment and 10 years for the other crimes. He said the killers showed no remorse.

“Even Mthethwa emphasised that he did not do it even though he had been found guilty by the court,” said Judge Nkosi.

He said the pair did not have any compelling circumstances that would allow for leniency.

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