‘Teddy Mafia’ buries son killed in drive-by shooting

By Lethu Nxumalo Time of article published Mar 15, 2020

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Durban - The wailing of women reverberated around the mansion of Yaganathan Pillay, aka Teddy Mafia, when his son’s coffin was carried inside on Saturday.

Devendren Lionel Pillay, 38, known as Bigz, died in hospital on Thursday night after being involved in a drive-by shooting outside a home in Shallcross, Durban.

Claudene Rampersad, a bystander, was also hit by the gunmen’s spray of bullets. She, too, died in hospital.

Community members, neighbours and friends came out in their numbers to support Pillay and his family on Saturday.

Thick gold chains, gold bracelets, Mafia-style signet rings and dark sunglasses were the order of the day.

Affectionate greetings and hugs were shared by many in attendance while they waited patiently for Bigz’s remains to arrive at the home.

Taurus Street was closed to motorists as white tents were erected in the middle of the road to accommodate the funeral service.

A number of armed guards also filled the area to protect members of the family, some of whom wore white T-shirts bearing the initials TMS (Teddy Mafia Son) with a photo of Bigz packing machine guns.

Pillay, who is no stranger to controversy for his alleged drug dealings, said his son had gone to the bank on Thursday to transfer money into his business account.

He had been running a trucking business for many years. The money he had gone to transfer was for fuel for his trucks.

“He then visited a friend in the area near where Claudene Rampersad was also shot. On his way home, while getting into his vehicle, a woman who had not seen him in a long time shouted a greeting to him. While he conversed with the woman, another vehicle with unknown men opened fire on him as they drove by.”

Pillay said the vehicle carried about three or four occupants, who shot at his son.

He said he believes that the perpetrators had followed his son for a while before the shooting incident, and he was unsure whether the murder was connected to shady dealings he had been accused of in the past.

“This is probably coming from long-term works. Sometimes, some things follow you. This could be related to the past, but I trust the police will do their work, and if they do their job properly, they should be able to arrest the men who shot him,” he said.

“I cannot say what really was the cause, anything is possible, but he had never mentioned having bad blood with anyone,” said Pillay.

When the coffin arrived, it was carried by 12 men, and they were led by a Scottish bagpiper who walked on a trail of rose petals. Just as many women cried openly, men armed with guns also become emotional as a priest received the coffin.

Pillay’s wife, Susan, was inconsolable. A family member said Bigz had been Susan’s “everything”.

“Wake up. Why are you leaving me? Come Lionel (Bigz), my all,” cried Susan. “Who is going to look after me? Come out from that box. My baby, my baby Lionel.”

Pillay said the family would now employ additional security, especially around their children.

“There will need to be escorts. We have to just be safe,” he said.

To the murderers, Pillay said: “This was not the right thing to do. They shouldn’t have done this.”

No arrests have been made.

Sunday Tribune

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