Teddy Mafia was passionate about helping the community. Picture: Zanele Zulu
Teddy Mafia was passionate about helping the community. Picture: Zanele Zulu

Every day for nine years we cooked two decks of breyani for the community, said Teddy Mafia’s wife

By Chanelle Lutchman Time of article published Jan 7, 2021

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Durban - The wife of murdered Teddy Mafia has defended her alleged druglord husband, saying he had a heart of gold.

Speaking to POST this week, Susan Pillay said: “People can speak bad about my husband, but my husband had a heart of gold.”

Yaganathan Pillay, 61, was shot twice at his Taurus Street home in Shallcross and died on arrival in hospital. His alleged attackers were beheaded and burnt in full view of the community.

Pillay’s funeral is expected to take place on Thursday.

While Pillay was an alleged drug kingpin, his wife could only sing her husband’s praises.

“At home he would give us the best of things to eat but he himself would sit and eat bread and black tea.

“Every day for nine years we cooked two decks of breyani and we would feed the community.

“Due to the lockdown in March, we stopped but on the morning of his death he had asked me when we were going to start it again. He knew people were going hungry in their homes and he didn't like the thought of that.”

She said Pillay had not only provided for his family but he also assisted people who lived in the area.

“If there was a death, he would pay for the person's funeral. He put kids through school and university and he even helped people pay their utility bill. People can speak bad about my husband, but my husband had a heart of gold.

The couple had been married for 40 years.

“I was only 13 when we met. We fell in love and got married. Our marriage was a love marriage. It was not arranged and I always told him we were meant for each other. He loved whenever I dressed up and he bought me the best saris.

“I always said I must go before him because I won't be able to live without him. I don't want to wear white to show that I am widowed, but today, I have to start wearing it,” she said.

She said she had been shopping when she received a call that her husband had been shot.

“I did not believe it. So many people send around rumours. I told myself, ’Teddy is okay, don’t stress’ but, when I called my son-in-law, he confirmed it.

“I rushed home and then to the hospital. The hospital staff assured us that he would be okay, but I guess they knew.”

She said on the morning of his death, she had sat with her husband and they had spoken about their life together.

“It was a very good morning. We just sat and spoke about whatever we felt like. I remember feeling very happy about the time we spent. I also told him I would be going out but he was expecting visitors so he would not accompany me. It upsets me that, as I left the house, I did not say goodbye to him.”

She said the family had held a one-year death ceremony on Saturday for their son Lionel who was shot during a drive-by shooting last year.

“Teddy was emotional. He was close with my son. He wanted to do the best prayer he could but because of the lockdown we had to restrict it.”

Brigadier Jay Naicker, KZN police spokesperson, said Pillay had told his daughter he was expecting visitors. When the two men arrived, they entered the property and went to the back where they met Pillay.

At some point Pillay’s daughter heard gunshots. When she went to the back she realised her father had been shot.

Naicker said members of the community apprehended the two suspects, assaulted them, set them alight and then beheaded them.

Naicker said when police arrived, members of the community opened fire on them. The Public Order Policing Unit was summoned and dispersed the crowd. No one was injured.

Naicker said Pillay was taken to a private hospital where he died.

“Police did not seize any firearms at the scene. At this stage, it is unknown if the two suspects arrived on foot or in a vehicle. Police will investigate three dockets of murder,” said Naicker .

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