July unrest killer slapped with 20-year prison term

July riots’ murderer in jail for 20 years. Picture: File

July riots’ murderer in jail for 20 years. Picture: File

Published Mar 26, 2024


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed the sentencing of July unrest murderer, Joel Fenton Pillay, who was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on Monday, for his role during the unrest of July 2021.

Pillay was found guilty by the Scottburgh High Court for the murder of Lindani Mthethwa amid the looting and public violence in various parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Reports indicate that on the day, July 12 2021, the deceased was walking on Ireland Street in Verulam, when Pillay drove past him.

Pillay who was driving a marked vehicle owned by a security company, turned his vehicle around and drove back towards Mthethwa. When he was alongside Mthethwa, he lowered the window of his vehicle and shot him in the head. Mthethwa died on the scene.

Reacting to the case, NPA regional spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said the State’s case depended on the evidence led by the two witnesses and the State prosecutor, advocate Thabani Buthelezi.

She said the evidence led by the two witnesses was critical to the case which eventually found Pillay guilty on murder charges.

“This led the testimony of two eye witnesses who saw the shooting; as well as details of the tracking device that was installed on the vehicle that Pillay drove on the day of the incident.

“Buthelezi also submitted a victim impact statement compiled by Mthethwa’s sister, and facilitated by court preparation officer Thandeka Nandi Mofokeng. In her statement, the woman said Mthethwa was a responsible and hard-working person. She said that her family has been financially and emotionally affected. She added that the incident was traumatic, as she still has flashbacks,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

She said in sentencing Pillay, the court deviated from the minimum sentence of life imprisonment, citing that he was a first offender when he committed the offence. Pillay was sentenced accordingly, and the court found him unfit to possess a firearm.

“The NPA commends the work done by the prosecution and other stakeholders in securing the conviction,” she said.

The Star