Yaganathan ’Teddy Mafia’ Pillay was shot outside his home in Shallcross. Picture Zanele Zulu
Yaganathan ’Teddy Mafia’ Pillay was shot outside his home in Shallcross. Picture Zanele Zulu

Teddy knew his alleged killers from prison - sources

By Chanelle Lutchman Time of article published Jan 18, 2021

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DURBAN – POLICE have not made any significant progress in their investigation into the slaying of Yaganathan Pillay, also known as Teddy Mafia.

Neither have they had any success in their investigations into the murders of two men accused of killing Pillay.

At this stage, not even the names of the men have been established.

One police source claimed the two men who are alleged to have killed Pillay were good friends with him.

“The men were hit-men who he met when he was in prison.

“They sort of looked after him while they were inside.

“From what we have been told, Teddy was excited to see his friends and even arranged for them to be picked up from a taxi rank near RK Khan Hospital.”

The source also said while there are allegations that Pillay’s death could be linked to rivalry, there were also rumours that someone close to him was behind his death.

When the POST contacted Pillay’s family they declined to speak because they were preparing for Pillay’s nine-day ceremony.

Pillay was laid to rest on Thursday at the Shallcross Cemetery.

Hours earlier, and amid a heavy police presence, his body arrived at his home.

A large crowd stood on the road watching the ceremony from a big screen outside his home.

The funeral was also broadcast on Facebook.

The mourners chanted “Viva Mafia Viva” as his body arrived and left the home.

It is believed the funeral cost R300 000.

No incidents of public disorder were reported.

His niece Noelene Nicole Pillay said her uncle dedicated his life to helping others.

“My uncle never went house to house asking people if they needed groceries.

“My uncle never went house to house asking people if he could pay their rent.

“No, they came running to him.

“They came crying to him.

“They came to him knowing that whatever their problems were, that Teddy Appa will be able to fix it and indeed he did.”

While Pillay was referred to as a “known drug dealer”, he was never convicted on any drug related charges.

Police arrested him on several occasions, most recently in April last year.

On that occasion, police allegedly found unlicensed firearms, R700 000 in cash, and gold and silver coins worth about R250 000.

Charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Pillay was released on R5 000 bail in the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court.

Last week, advocate Elaine Zungu, the Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, said the case against Pillay would be struck off the roll following his killing.

Meanwhile, media reports from the 1980s on a killing linked to Pillay have been doing the rounds of social media.

In August 1985, Pillay and his brothers, Moonsamy Pillay and Sathiaseelan Pillay and their friends Perumal David and Premunjith Deonarian attacked Summer “Singla” Singh and Pravin “Gulu” Singh at a stadium.

According to a report published in the POST, three armed men approached Summer Singh and a fight broke out.

“Singla overpowered one of them and was walking away from the scene when he was chased into a tuck shop at the stadium.”

More men joined the three and they broke the tuck shop door and assaulted him.

Pravin Singh, who was nearby, was also attacked and speared by a group of men.

The brothers were taken to RK Khan Hospital where they died.

Pillay and his co-accused were later arrested and charged with two counts of murder with extenuating circumstances.

A year later, they were found guilty of murdering Summer Singh and sentenced to 15 years in prison by Justice Friedman at the then Durban Supreme Court.

They were acquitted of Pravin Singh’s murder because there was little evidence to indicate how he had been killed.

On passing sentence, Justice Friedman said the callousness and brutality with which Summer Singh was killed made this a very serious case.

Months later, Pillay, via his attorney Carl van der Merwe appealed his sentence and conviction.

“He took the matter on appeal and he was acquitted,” confirmed Van der Merwe on Tuesday.

He continued: “I cannot remember the exact details or how long after his sentence he appealed it but back then, it was easier and quicker to raise an appeal.

“So, he would have appealed it within months.”

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