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Family fears turf war and crooked cops could destroy Shallcross

The funeral service of alleged drug kingpin Yaganathan Pillay, known as Teddy Mafia, took place at his home in Shallcross, Durban.Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng /African News Agency (ANA)

The funeral service of alleged drug kingpin Yaganathan Pillay, known as Teddy Mafia, took place at his home in Shallcross, Durban.Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 17, 2021


DURBAN - A drug turf war, crooked cops and incompetent policing were what family believed not only killed Yaganathan “Teddy Mafia” Pillay but what would destroy their hometown of Shallcross, Chatsworth.

Pillay was shot twice on Monday outside his Taurus Road home. He died en route to a nearby hospital.

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His suspected killers were met by alleged mob justice, which resulted in them being shot, beheaded and set alight.

Pillay’s younger brother, Ronnie, said his brother’s death robbed an already suffering community plagued by an ongoing drug turf war.

“The police are well aware of what is taking place, it is a battle for sales and distribution ,and they know who killed my brother. No criminal will act with impunity and disregard for taking people’s lives if they do not have the backing of rogue police officers.

“There are good officers, but this rot is at the top in the Pretoria headquarters, and good cops are scared to go against their seniors. It is about time the government addressed this corruption,” he said.

He said since 2019, eight people were killed as a result of the drug war – one of which was Pillay’s son, Devendran Lionel Pillay.

“Nothing has happened and there’s no justice. It is wrong to label my brother as evil. He is being blamed for an entire conspiracy which involves police. I want the national commissioner to come here and ask why his officers act like they know nothing. We want answers.”

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Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said three murder cases were being investigated by the organised crime unit.

Pillay’s funeral, which was said to cost about R300 000, was conducted at his home on Thursday by guru Clive Gounden and Pinetown Funeral Services.

Dozens of police officers and vehicles lined Taurus Road as well as nearby streets throughout the day.

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While only about 50 immediate family members were allowed in the home, about 100 mourners gathered in tents that flanked the street to watch a livestream of the funeral on a large outdoor television.

Loyalists wore shirts with Pillay's face which said: "RIP Dad. There will be no other mafia" while others wore facemasks dedicated to Pillay.

Covid-19 protocols were reiterated by both the family and on-duty police officials to ensure social distancing and mask-wearing.

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Warning signs on hugging, kissing or handshaking were also posted.

The arrival of the hearse was met by mourners and chants of “Viva Mafia Viva” as bagpipes bellowed.

Only five people at a time were allowed to pay their respects to Pillay who was in a, thought to be, diamond-encrusted gold and white coffin which was open and revealed him wearing his trademark sunglasses.

Pillay’s niece, Noelene Nicole Pillay, addressed the crowd on behalf of her family and described her uncle as man with a heart of solid gold.

“He stepped in where government should have. He would not go out looking for people who wanted bribes. If people needed help, they would come and ask him. He would help them. While many who made their wealth, left Shallcross, he stayed and was always there to help. To me and many others, my uncle was an extraordinary human being, but yes, he was a man, he wasn’t perfect. He had his faults and failure,s just like the rest of us.”

Doves were released when Pillay was taken and laid to rest at the Shallcross Cemetery.

Sunday Tribune