Jennifer Pillay
Jennifer Pillay

A 65-year-old “God-fearing” and community-minded grandmother was found dead in the bathroom of her Chatsworth home on Christmas Eve.

According to police, the post-mortem results had revealed that the cause of Jennifer Pillay’s death was strangulation.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane, confirmed Pillay’s death and said a case of murder was being investigated by Bayview police. No arrests have been made.

Pillay retired as a nurse in 2016 after numerous years of practice in Dubai. She had two children. Her daughter Carynne Maritz lives in Australia and her son Gino Pillay, is in London.

Pillay was in the process of relocating to London and had already started to sell some of her possessions.

Her funeral was held at the New Bethesda Full Gospel Church on Friday, she was later cremated at the Clare Estate Crematorium.

Pillay’s husband, Naveen Chanderlall, pressed a security panic alarm when he found her lifeless body in the bathroom, around 8pm on Monday.

Chanderlall has since been admitted to a local hospital.

A well-placed police source, who asked not to be named, said that a close family member had called Pillay a few times on Monday but was told by Chanderlall that she was asleep on each occasion.

The informant said that Chanderlall set-off the panic alarm shortly after another call was made by the same family member that evening.

Fawzia Perumal, the spokesperson for the Pillay family, said they were not prepared to speculate on how the grandmother had died.

“We haven’t looked further than her funeral on Friday, our focus was to give her a dignified send-off as she would have preferred,” said Perumal.

Pastor Danny Pillay, who was the officiating minister at her funeral, said the deceased was a committed member of his congregation.

“Jennifer’s death has come as a shock to us. She was a God-fearing person.

“Ever since she retired from nursing two years ago, she was very committed to church work. She was a loving and caring person.

“We remember she was excited about the birth of her grandchild last year, and stayed in Australia for about four months at the time,” said Pastor Pillay.

“She was the best,” said Pillay’s neighbour and friend Thulile Ncikazi.

“Jennifer is the reason I decided to buy a second home on Riversdale Road. She made it feel like home for me and my family.

“She was caring, loving and an active member of our community. Every day, morning and afternoon, she would SMS to see that everything was well with me and my family.”

Ncikazi said the news of Pillay’s death came as a shock to her because she heard nothing out of the ordinary on the day.

“I was shattered when I read on our community WhatsApp group about Jennifer’s death. It didn’t make sense because I spoke to her the day before and she seemed fine.

“Last year, when she went to Australia, she came back with gifts for me and my son. Even when she cooked a big meal, she would share with us.”

Ncikazi said she was saddened when Pillay told her that she was moving to the UK to be with her son Gino and even bought some of her possessions.

“Naveen (Chanderlall) was going to be left behind,” she said.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE