'Teddy Mafia' claims Metro cops ruined son's 16-day ceremony

By Chanelle Lutchman Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Durban - Yaganathan Pillay had planned to conduct a 16-day ceremony for his son, who was killed in a drive-by shooting two weeks ago, but he claimed Metro police ruined the prayer.

Last Wednesday afternoon, Pillay, also known as Teddy Mafia, had a steel frame marquee, similar to a gazebo, erected on the road outside his Shallcross home.

He and his family hoped to perform his son Devendren Lionel’s final send-off prayer in front of about 90 relatives and friends.

The 38-year-old father of one, who owned a trucking business, was shot multiple times in Alpine Drive.

His friend, Claudene Rampersad, who he was talking to at the time, was also killed.  

Pillay, a father of six, said his brother made arrangements with the area’s ward councillor, Previn Vedan, to erect the structure on the road.

They had a similar structure put up during Devendren’s funeral.

He said motorists could access the road by driving under the marquee. But once the prayer started, they would have to use an alternative road.

Pillay said a group of Metro police arrived that afternoon and asked him to remove the structure from the public road.

“We do not have a big yard on our property, so my brother asked Previn if we could put up a marquee. Forms were signed, and we got the okay from the councillor before the structure was erected.”

Pillay, who has been accused of being a drug dealer, said they received compliance forms that they adhered to.

He said they arranged for the marquee to be removed the following morning.

“But Metro arrived. We told them we had permission and showed them the forms, but they were not having it. They said we should have got permission from them and not Previn.”

He said Vedan was called to their home, but Metro allegedly disregarded him.  

Pillay said he watched as the officers took down the structure and loaded it into their vehicles while his wife cried, begged and pleaded with them to stop.

“It was our son’s final ceremony, and we wanted to give him a good send-off. We were even abiding by the rules. As per the president’s instructions, fewer than 100 people were invited to the ceremony. It’s not like we were having a party.”

He said they eventually had the prayer in a smaller tent on his property. Most of his friends and family watched the priest perform the ceremony from outside.

Pillay said people had told him that time would heal all wounds.

“But I don’t know if this is true.”

He claimed the police were dragging their feet with the investigation.

“Forget about my son. Claudene was an innocent bystander. Her family came to me the other day. They said the suspects’ bullets were still lodged in the wall.”

Pillay and his family have experienced their fair share of tragic deaths.

In December and January, Pillay’s nephews, Stanley Pillay and Tarry Samuels, were shot. Last week, his wife’s cousin, Joseph Anthony, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Northdene.  

He said he did not know the motives for the attacks.

“My family and I are afraid because there have been too many killings. We have beefed up security.”

Vedan declined to comment. Metro referred the query to the eThekwini Municipality who had not commented at the time of publication.

City spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela said the head of the relevant department addressed this with a councillor on the evening it happened. 

In a statement sent on Wednesday, Mayisela said: "Councillors do not have the right to grant authority, for such events. The councillor has since apologised for the mistake."

Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a KZN police spokesperson, said charges of murder were being investigated. No arrests have been made. 


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